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Since 1994, dentists have been adding laser treatment options to their practices, and that growth is beginning to occur at record numbers. It may be because dentists continually sit at the top of the list of healthcare practitioners Americans want to visit more often.

A 2018 ADA study found nearly 42% of Americans would like to see their dentist more frequently, and as those numbers continue to grow, so too does the demand for additional services, like those lasers can provide. Exactly what do those benefits look like, though, and how do you sort through the marketing hype to understand what might be right for your practice?

The Potential for Lasers

Attend any marketing event around lasers, and you’ll walk away wondering if you even need other tools within your practice. Nearly every company will tell you that laser dentistry technology can be used to treat almost anything that ails your patients and prevent a long list of conditions. 

The potential for these tools really is phenomenal, and while some treatments are more established than others, most offer a fairly reliable body of information to back their usage within your practice. Understanding exactly how a laser might fit your norms is key to developing a clear look at the advantages of laser dentistry. Some potential advantages might include

  • Safer Treatments for Your Patients: 

Using a laser to treat your patients can actually be safer on multiple fronts. Initially, you’re far less likely to scratch or irritate a patient’s tender gums during a procedure. Lasers offer a level of precision other tools simply cannot, so the surrounding tissue in the treatment area is never touched. 

Maybe more important, though, is the fact that the use of a laser lowers the risk of infection in your patients. Lasers sterilize any space they contact, and that translates to a lower spread of bacteria and lower risk of infection.

  • Added Services:

Many dentists are looking for the ability to expand the procedures they offer in the office, and a laser is a great way to do that. Whether you’re looking to include cosmetic options or you’ve been reluctant to perform certain procedures because of the risks to the patient involved. 

Adding a laser option to your practice, though, means you have far fewer worries about those procedures. Today’s lasers are capable of both hard and soft tissue procedures including cavity preps, endodontics, periodontics, and osseous procedures, and that could mean a wide expansion of opportunities.

  • Additional Opportunities to Serve New Patients:

Often with added services come new patients and the ability to formulate different treatment plans that may not have been available to you without the laser. More than that, though, is the fact that you may actually have additional time in your schedule because laser procedures tend to be far shorter than traditional ones, so you can be far more efficient and add other patients to your schedule, which will help grow your practice considerably.

Are There Drawbacks to Adding Laser Dentistry?

Adding laser technology really does mean the opportunity to offer a number of new procedures in your office and enhance those you already offer, but as with any changes to your practice, it comes with a risk. Laser procedures tend to be more expensive because of the cost of the equipment and training than other kinds of procedures do, and that may price some of your patients out of your practice. 

Working with a laser takes training both for you and your staff, and you may not be ready to dedicate that time to this piece of equipment. More than that, though, it means the need for installation space and time, and if you’re not in a place where you’re ready to rethink your office, this may not be the best time to consider a laser. 

Perhaps the best way to make a decision is to continue learning about what laser dentistry has to offer your practice. Attend seminars and events. Talk with other practitioners who have added laser services. How satisfied are they? If possible, spend time observing this tool in use. You may also want to reach out for in-person demonstrations from the companies you’ve found in your research. 

Often dental laser technology is a great fit for even a general practice, and as they continue to gain general acceptance among practitioners, many more nearby practices are likely to include their usage. 

As you shop, consider attending additional events from suppliers and working with accepted organizations like The Academy of Laser Dentistry to both learn more about what’s available and observe the research that is currently being conducted around lasers and how they fit into dental practices of all shapes and sizes.