The Laser Investment... Kick the Tires
ou do not just buy a laser, you invest in a laser. I buy a box of breakfast cereal, but I invest in the stock market, gold, and real estate, all with the hope of a good return on my investment. If I am going to make a capital investment in my practice, I want to make sure it will make money. I don’t need another toy. I carefully approach these types of investments because each decision does affect the bottom line. If you haven’t taken a serious look at lasers for your practice, it is time. Are lasers for every dentist? I suppose not, but I personally do not see how you can practice without lasers. There are 3 things that close down my office for the day: loss of air, loss of vacuum, and loss of laser. My patients expect and demand lasers for their dentistry. An all-tissue laser can easily add $250,000 to the average general dental practice in the first year. That’s a 500% return on investment during the first year of use. I can’t think of 1 single item that can be added to a dental practice that will come remotely close to that kind of return on investment. ing, torus removal, surgical extractions, etc.), endodontic procedures (shaping and disinfecting of the root canal system), and operative procedures (all classification of cavity preps). Both lasers can be used for everyday dentistry as well as the exotic procedures. Many dentists avoid looking at lasers because of the common misconception that the learning curve is steep. The diode laser can be mastered with the included DVD and a1-day training course. The YSGG laser technique can be learned in the included 2-day training course. As with any advanced technology, more CE courses are recommended as your experience level grows but the basics for everyday dentistry can easily be mastered.

Best of Both Worlds
The best-case scenario is to have both lasers. I have both in my office and we use both all day long. Many dentists choose to start with the diode because of its simplicity and economy, but the all-tissue laser is the 1 that can really change the future of your practice. When selecting your laser look for ease of operation, approved procedures, variety in tip selection, dependability in the delivery system, choices in handpieces, training, and support after the sale. Now do yourself, your practice, and your patients a favor—get out there and kick the tires!
Dr. L. Don Wilson is a 1978 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Dentistry where he received the Operative Dentistry Award. Dr. Wilson has been in private practice for 32 years and has just opened his newest practice, “Signature Smile” in Florence, Alabama. He is a trained instructor and routine user of both the ErCr:YSGG and 940 Diode Lasers. Dr. Wilson has served as one of the featured educators for laser training at the renowned Las Vegas Institute (LVI) and he also serves as the Director of Laser Education at the Nash Institute in Charlotte, NC.

Don’t Bury Your Head in the Sand
Most dentists are so confused by lasers; some dentists find it easier just to ignore the subject rather than even look at the technology. But the issue is really quiet simple. There are basically 2 types of lasers that are applicable to the general dental office: the soft-tissue and the all-tissue laser. The most basic and least expensive unit is the soft-tissue or diode laser, which can be used for most soft-tissue procedures such as gingivectomy, frenectomy, troughing, bleaching, and low-level laser therapy (TMD therapy). The 940-nanometer wavelength is excellent for cutting soft tissue, decontaminating periodontal pockets, and provides excellent hemostasis. You can choose between a very small and portable tabletop unit with bluetooth foot control and a variety of disposable tips, or the new pocketsize total units with finger tip activation. Second, is the all-tissue laser, which a can be used for soft-tissue procedures (gingivectomy, frenectomy, biopsy, perio surgery, etc.), osseous procedures (crown lengthenDental Learning

L. Don WiLson, DMD