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Dental Lasers Increasingly Popular Among Dentists: The Wealthy Dentist Survey Results
Dentists are split over the use of dental lasers, according to a
Wealthy Dentist dental poll. The survey found 50% of dentists reporting the use of lasers in their dental practices. Some dentists rave that the dental laser has revolutionized dental care and treatment of periodontal disease, while others contend that lasers are overpriced and ineffective.
(Tiburon, California) June 26, 2007 – Dentists are split over the use of dental lasers to
fight gum disease. In a recent dental survey conducted by TheWealthyDentist.com, dentists were asked if they use lasers on soft tissue in their dental practices. Dental lasers appear to be quite popular these days. Respondents were split right down the middle, with 50% reporting they lasers are part of their periodontal management and 50% indicating they do not use lasers on soft tissue.
Dental lasers come in a number of varieties serving different functions. Caries laser diagnostic tools can give a dentist feedback on the state of a patient’s tooth, indicating the presence of decay or cavities that might otherwise go undetected. Some dentists use lasers on teeth for cavity preparation, although drills can do the job faster. Lasers are also used to cure restorative materials. However, soft tissue uses are the most popular: preparing gums and teeth for crowns or other dental work, fighting periodontal disease, and otherwise helping patients maintain healthy gums.
The groups most likely to report using lasers were general dentists and rural dentists. In fact, this survey found that suburban dentists are twice as likely as their rural colleagues to choose not to use lasers on soft tissue.
In the eyes of many dentists, lasers have revolutionized periodontal treatment "Lasers enable early, effective and efficient Interceptive
Treatment for Periodontal Disease! They are priceless when used properly!" gushed a New Jersey dentist. "Lasers improve the standard of care we provide for our patients," said one Wisconsin dentist.
Lasers, however, are too expensive for some dentists. "The cost/benefit ratio seems unreasonable with lasers; my choice is the electro-surge," said a California implantologist. Another California dentist agreed: "I don't feel I have adequate training to use the laser that I paid so much for. It's not a comfortable part of any treatment I do at this time. It's not paying its own bills."
Other dentists couldn't imagine where they would be without their lasers. "It is the best thing to come along in dentistry in the past 20 years," said one California dentist. "It has been a godsend for me in so many ways," agreed a Michigan orthodontist.
Many dentists find lasers to be amazing, but even supporters acknowledge that they are not all created equal. "It is not uncommon for my hygienist to come running into my operatory with her eyes wide open saying: 'I can't believe the tissue health and low pocket readings on this patient! I don't understand why EVERYBODY isn't doing this!’ And I don't either,” raves a North Carolina dentist, adding: “But above all, all lasers are NOT created equal. And don't let any sales rep tell you that they will all do perio. Your laser choice depends on what you want to use it for.” A New Jersey dentist agreed: "I've had both good and bad experiences. It seems that careful case selection is very important. Lasers are not magic. They seem to be highly effective in mild to moderate cases; but more severe or complicated cases, especially where poor patient compliance is a factor, should be referred."
Sometimes, a laser just isn't the right tool for the job. "It can be very tedious compared to using a blade," complained a Louisiana periodontist. "They're lousy for hard tissue," mentioned an Arkansas dentist "I don't use lasers," declared one California general dentist. "They cut the tooth too slowly. Plus, they're very expensive."
On the other hand, lasers are great tools for certain jobs "It's difficult to set up, but once it's working, it is a great tool when doing perio or crown and bridge procedures," said one Canadian dentist. "Lasers are excellent when combined with scaling and root planing," mentioned a Maryland dentist. "Dental lasers are good for removing redundant or excess tissue and for hemostasis," commented a New York dentist.
Some suggest that laser surgery costs patients too much money "Laser dentists are my biggest referrers, but they don't know it," says a Tennessee periodontist. "When they get the laser and tell patients they need $6,000 of laser surgery, the patients come to me for second opinions."
“I was amazed by the results of this survey indicating that fully half of all dentists are using dental lasers,” commented Jim Du Molin, dental consultant and founder of The Wealthy Dentist. “I know lots of dentists who see lasers nothing but a marketing ploy, a dental fad that won't last. But it turns out that more and more dental practitioners are coming to see the health benefits of using dental lasers in their practices."
For additional information on this and other Wealthy Dentist surveys, as well as more dentist comments, visit www.thewealthydentist.com/survey.
The Wealthy Dentist is a dental marketing and dental practice management resource featuring dental consultant Jim Du Molin. The site’s weekly surveys and dental newsletters are viewed by thousands of dentists across the United States and Canada. The Wealthy Dentist is a sister company of the Internet Dental Alliance, Inc. (www.internetdentalalliance.com). IDA is the largest provider of websites for dentists, email patient newsletters and dental directories in North America.
Jim Du Molin