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01 Dec 2004 | Australasian Dental Practice

news > Spectrum > Page 28

WA laser dentists make the 6 o'clock news

Laser Dentistry Events

The high number of Perth dentists who have adopted the Waterlase dental laser was the lead-in for a report on the prime time Seven Network News in September that coincided with a lecture programme by visiting US laser dentist, Dr Christopher Walinski.

Dr Walinski, who also appeared on the news report, is the latest speaker to be brought to Australia and New Zealand by Dental Medical Technologies to educate existing and potential users on incorporating laser dentistry into their practices.

"There is no doubt that lasers are generating tremendous interest around the world at present to the point of becoming mainstream," Dr Walinski said. "I've never been to Australia before and I was surprised at the number of people we had attending in each of the cities I visited.

"The basic knowledge of most dentists everywhere is that lasers can only be used for soft tissue surgery and they're not suitable for anything else. Most are amazed that you can cut a standard cavity preparation and because of the ability of the laser to cause analgesia, you can generally do it without anaesthesia.

"The two things people hate about going to the dentist are the needle and the grinding of the drill. The laser gets rid of both of these. No one has ever said to me in four years of using the Waterlase that they would want to go back to having a shot and the drill. It also means that we can do preps on both sides of an arch in one appointment whereas typically, we would do that in two because we don't want to numb the patient's entire mouth.

"Apart from the patient management benefits, the laser is better for the long-term health of the tooth because it is able to do things more precisely and without vibration. When you use a microscope as I do, you can see the amount of damage the grinding and vibration of the highspeed does to the tooth. It causes micro-fractures that may cause further problems in the future."

Dr Walinski said that topical anaesthetic was generally sufficient for soft tissue surgery and the laser accomplished the majority of procedures without bleeding and without increasing the temperature of the tissue, promoting much faster healing.

"Some attendees had no idea about lasers, some knew quite a lot and others were already working with the product," Dr Walinski said. "I could see that a lot of people came along to test the waters and actually went away thinking how they could incorporate a laser into their practice.

"For the experienced users, we also discussed the specific settings I use for various procedures together with guidelines and protocols for performing all manner of hard and soft tissue surgery. There was also a long Q&A and if they didn't get their questions answered, they probably didn't ask."

Dr Walinski runs a private practice in Fall River, Massachusetts and uses both the Biolase Waterlase YSGG laser and the Biolase Twilite diode laser in his practice. He presented the program in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland and regularly presents in the US at the Academy of Laser Dentistry and the World Clinical Laser Institute as well as at Universities and dental meetings.

"Biolase was a pioneer in setting up training, education and support systems for laser users, but I must say, I was amazed at how much further Dental Medical Technologies have taken that. No other distrubutor I'm aware of in the world offers more laser education than DMTI.

"Right from day one, they get you in front of local dentists using the system so you can see how the laser works first hand and then they take it further by linking you into the world laser community through participating in overseas conferences. If you want to know about using the Waterlase for endo, you can literally sit with the guy who did the work to get the FDA approval and see how it's done by a world expert.

"When I bought my laser, there were no courses, no books, no manuals. You essentially taught yourself and it was a bit like flying by the seat of your pants. It would have been wonderful to have this level of knowledge passed on right up front as it shortens the learning curve considerably.

"I believe the only factor preventing every practice from having a laser is the price. Once you get past that - once you see the value rather than the cost - and see what patients will pay for a procedure to be performed with a laser and how many more types of procedures you can do, the return on investment is incredible.

"I went to Ohio State Dental School and they didn't teach us much about business so we were taught to look at what things cost. Now I know the value of having a laser in the practice and I wouldn't be without it."

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