Laser Dentistry: Lasers Satisfy 4 of 5 Dentists

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Laser dentistry: dental lasers satisfy 4 of 5 dentistsFour out of five dentists (80%) practicing laser dentistry are happy with their dental lasers, this survey found.

In fact, most respondents do have a dental laser – 57% of them. Just over half (58%) of dentists without a laser would like to get one.

Laser dentistry procedures

  • Biopsies
  • Caries removal/restorations
  • Cavity preps
  • Class V composites, occlusal composites
  • Closed flap crown lengthening
  • Cold sore treatment
  • Crown troughing
  • Dental hygiene perio treatment
  • Dental implant uncovering
  • Endodontics
  • Esthetic procedures
  • Exposure of tissue impacted teeth for tooth bonding
  • Frenectomy
  • Gingival debridement
  • Gingival recountouring
  • Gingivectomy, gingivoplasty
  • Hard and Soft tissue
  • Lanap perio treatment
  • Removal of fibroma
  • Removal of soft tissue lesions
  • Secondary herpetic lesion treatment
  • Small Anterior fillings
  • Soft tissue recontouring
  • Treatment of aphthous ulcers
  • Treatment of periodontal pockets

Love for lasers

  • “Absolutely, I would be lost without mine.” (General dentist)
  • “It has been a phenomenal adjunct to periodontal therapy. We've seen cases with 7mm pockets reduced to 2mm! With the help of the Centers for Dental Medicine protocols we can truly cure periodontal disease and verify it scientifically.” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “Great investment.” (California dentist)
  • “I have 3 lasers and they are the the best investment I have ever made. Far better than a digital x-ray. Patients appreciate not getting a needle during restorative procedures and kids love it because it does not have that loud drill noise. It's worth the money in very sense and the pediatric dentistry referrals keep coming because of it.” (Canada dentist)
  • “I love my 1064 diode.” (Canada dentist)
  • “Most definitely! There are an array of uses and advantages. Currently we only have a radiosurgery unit, which has some advantages over laser, but is far limited in application to laser.” (California dentist)
  • “Fantastic improvement in smile esthetics are possible with recontouring. Speeds up treatment of teeth that are slow to erupt.” (Ohio orthodontist)
  • “They are great investments, especially to work around the implants.” (Illinois dentist)

Is the ROI there?

  • “We have not paid for ours yet, but I feel over time they will have a positive ROI.” (General dentist)
  • “Yes– caveat emptor on operating costs.” (New Hampshire dentist)
  • “Lasers will not necessarily pay for themselves in a general practice. They can be used to improve the quality of dentistry you provide, but how much more can you charge to use a laser than any other basic tool? I can prep teeth with a laser, but I cannot charge twice the fee over using a handpiece.” (Canada dentist)
  • “I am on my third Erbium laser and first NdYAG and, though I am not getting rich with them, they have certainly increased our bottom line enough to pay the loan and make a bit more money. Ultimately, though, lasers give better outcomes for my patients, and this is the ultimate reason to use them.” (General dentist)
  • “It is difficult to get reimbursement from insurance for soft tissue procedures [removal of traumatic fibromas, etc]. I do not use it enough to consider it a good investment.” (Connecticut dentist)

Laser brand names

  • “Odessey by Ivoclar. I use it on most dental crown
    dental bridge preps.” (Washington dentist)
  • “Powerlase AT. Use it for just about everything..restorative, perio, oral surgery, pedo, endo." (General dentist)
  • “I'd like to use it for gingival troughing, ulcer ablation, biopsies, gingival recontouring, but it's a piece of junk – unreliable BIOLASE MD. It's just a guess whether it'll be working or not. And even paying $300 a month for a service contract, you may get a service call in 2 weeks or 3 or 4. You are at their mercy. I hate it. Biggest investment in equipment I have ever made and biggest loss.” (North Carolina dentist)
  • “Waterlase MD is a very good laser, but even though I use it daily, hard tissue (bone, teeth), crown lengthening, frenectomy, gingevoplasty, troughing, etc., the return on investment is not great.” (Canada dentist)
  • “I'm just beginning to do my homework on them. So far the old Ellman Electrosurgery unit works very well.” (Texas dentist)
  • “Discus Lasers (Diode – soft tissue lasers) are an excellent investment, great ROI.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “Excellent investment. We first got our Waterlase in 1999 and upgraded to the Waterlase MD a few years later. Patients love it and we do too. You can easily do fillings in several quads so it makes you more productive. Great for internal marketing.” (New York dentist)

Different dental lasers serve different purposes

  • "I use 4 different lasers. 1.Caries removal & cavity preparation, canal sterilization immediately before endodontic fill. 2.cold laser-desensitizing teeth including before tooth prep, after any surgery to accelerate healing and reduce post-op pain. 3. soft tissue for perio attachment regeneration, frenectomies etc. 4. diagnodent for early caries detection." (General dentist)

Laser dentistry procedures

  • "Can do all treatments. I like it for pulpotomies, frenectomies and gingival recontour." (General dentist)
  • "I use a laser for tissue removal, retraction, and to uncover buried dental implants." (Prosthodontist)
  • "It's a soft tissue adjunct for scaling and root planing, decontaminating ailing dental implants, and soft tissue surgery." (Illinois periodontist)
  • “I mostly use it for perio (laser curettage and laser decontamination), but now and then our dental hygienists let me borrow one to use instead of electrosurge to expose tooth structure." (General dentist)
  • “Restorations Class 1 to 5; Gingivectomy and Boney Crown Lengthening; Fibroma removal; incision flaps and apicoectomies; surgical removal of bombed out teeth; mandibular tori removal; Perio surgery with flap or without flap; Canker sores or apthous ulcers; frenectomies;” (Canada dentist)

Hard tissue lasers

  • “Low priced soft tissue lasers I feel are worthwhile, but I wouldn't spend a fortune for a hard tissue laser; I will wait for the price to drop.” (General dentist)
  • “A diode is a good investment. The hard tissue laser is a marginal investment.” (New York dentist)
  • “Diode is excellent investment, but hard tissue is unnecessary.” (General dentist)
  • “Soft tissue: yes. Hard tissue: Possibly–more of a novelty in my mind than a useful tool, especially for the price.” (Washington dentist)
  • “For soft tissue yes, hard tissue no.” (General dentist)
  • “Hard tissue is much too slow, and if used over extended period of time on a tooth, you invariably have to numb it anyway.” (Virginia dentist)
  • “I think they are a good investment. I would like to purchase a hard tissue laser.” (Wyoming dentist)

A good way to waste a lot of money

  • “Even Gordon Christianson says they are probably a waster of money. Just use electrosurgery!” (Georgia dentist)
  • “The only reason to get a laser is because a patient is asking me for it specifically. This is like buying an expensive race car that you only pull out of the garage every so often, but you get in the 'regular' car every single day.” (California dentist)

Patients like lasers

  • “Patients love getting small fillings without anesthesia.” (California dentist)
  • “Don't know about the ROI, but they allow me to do better dentistry and for the most part patients love their use.” (General dentist)
  • “Improves patient care and increases referrals.” (Florida dentist)
  • “Great for any patient, especially kids, to avoid the necessity of using local anesthetic in most cases.” (Michigan dentist)

Marketing hype

  • “I find that it is important to understand what you want them to do. Unfortunately, I see hype replacing facts just for the sake of sales.” (Colorado health centered dentist)
  • “I get a bit worked up over the laser manufacturers claims for the laser as well as the lack of training/certification required for dentists and hygienists. Terrible professionalism.” (Illinois periodontist)

Dental continuing education for lasers

  • “I would like to use mine for perio procedures, but I think the cont ed on procedures are lacking.” (General dentist)
  • “Steep learning curve and expensive to purchase and continuing ed. Not a 'cure all,' but another tool in the box. When it works as marketed, is a great practice builder!!” (Wyoming dentist)


  • “The only advantage of a diode laser over electrosurgery is when working in proximity to metal restorations and less or no anesthesia required in some situations. However, you can't just grab the handpiece and go, because everyone has to don eye protection, the filament has to be prepped, etc, so there's a lot more for the assistant to do with the laser.” (Michigan dentist)
  • “The training is slow and not as good as expected. Handpieces are bulky and you may still have to use a regular hand piece.” (Illinois dentist)


Note: Survey sample included 89 respondents. Posted 5/4/2010

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