The Benefits of Using a CO2 All-Tissue Laser in Dentistry

Andrew M. Spector, DMD
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Over the past decade, technology has transformed the practice of dentistry. Whether it is the way we plan, execute, or manufacture cases, the dental care landscape is shaping up to look radically different from the past. This has led not only to some exceptional results in outcomes but also to increased clinical efficiency and an improved patient experience.

As dental technology evolves, in most instances, so does its effectiveness. The 9.3-µm wavelength carbon dioxide (CO2) all-tissue dental laser is a transformational leap for our profession. After more than a decade of personally using all applicable laser wavelengths, I have found that the 9.3-µm CO2 laser finally delivers on the many past promises of the all-tissue laser benefits for both patient and practitioner. Currently, Convergent Dental’s Solea CO2 laser is the only dental laser functioning at this transcendent wavelength and delivering on the promise of providing true all-tissue laser dentistry.

The transformational aspect is created by both the 9.3-µm wavelength’s peak absorption into hydroxyapatite and water yielding true vaporization in combination with fully digital delivered energy patterns—a completely revolutionary, never before seen or experienced combination of features and benefits. 

In the Operatory

For years, lasers have been trying to solve the clinical problem of delivering reliably anesthesia-free dentistry. The promise of anesthesia-free treatment effective on both hard and soft tissue, with truly efficient cutting speeds in hard tissue, has finally been fully grasped. With pulsating energy delivered at a repetition rate of more than 1,000 pulses per second, it is dentistry’s first truly reliably anesthesia-free laser experience.

All types of restorative preparations can be cut reliably anesthesia-free using a 9.3-µm CO2 all-tissue laser. Moreover, its ease of use allows clinicians to move from hard to soft tissue without ever touching the unit. Envision seamlessly maneuvering your laser from tooth preparation directly to soft tissue sculpting, working with and shaping each component of the oral landscape as if it were clay. The use of this laser delivers optimum cutting speed, precision, and instant bloodless soft tissue contouring, leaving behind extremely clean preps and perfect pink tissue ready for restoration.

Both contra-angle and ultraguide handpieces can be used for procedures from intra-pocket periodontal issues to hard- and soft-tissue crown lengthening, bringing minimally invasive surgical procedures right into your dental practice. Moreover, the learning curve is quite short. The software for this laser is so intuitive, it allows even the most inexperienced user to quickly become a highly capable laser dentist.

Clinicians can confidently and quickly integrate this laser into most procedures by simply adjusting the variable speed foot pedal that controls the cutting speed, just like a high-speed handpiece. Simply turn it on, pick a spot size (think of this in terms of bur size), and start your prep. Preparing the tooth is completely interactive, much like your traditional handpiece, but considerably easier! If you want to cut faster, just apply more pressure on your rheostat. For a slower, more careful cut, back your foot off of the pedal, much like driving a car.

This is an end-cutting device guided by visualization. The touchscreen’s simple interface enables users to select a different spot size (bur size), which will increase or decrease the diameter of the cut. Plus, recognizing and adjusting it to the perfect size is simple. For example, the 1-mm spot size is comparable to a 330 bur, and the 1.25-mm spot size is equivalent to an 1158 bur.

Improving Workflow

The 9.3-µm CO2 laser provides reliable anesthesia-free procedures in an ultra-efficient manner that continues to greatly benefit my practice and patients. Incorporating this laser into my workflow has produced substantial growth in our practice, not just from new patients but from an efficiency ,workflow, and production standpoint, such as being able to work in multiple quadrants at the same time. In addition, the number of anesthesia-free hard- and soft-tissue procedures I can now perform in a single day has changed our entire scheduling philosophy.

For example, in my practice it is now common for us to book our operative procedures comfortably against larger work. These operative procedures that used to take up major restorative time can now be “side booked” as a 9.3-µm CO2 case in a very fitting manner. We identify all of these potential procedures in our “morning huddle” meeting that might have been previously treatment-planned even as traditional care cases.

We then identify all appointments that are available for same-day laser procedures. Since patients no longer experience numbness during these procedures, which is a primary reason people refuse same-day service, we now are able to completely exceed traditional scheduling expectations and accommodate many more patients in a short amount of time. It has now become routine for us to do multiple operative or soft-tissue procedures while the assistant is tending to our crown or major restorative appointments.

What’s more, I’ve discovered that people really feel the need to talk about their laser experiences whether online or in conversation, I’m excited about checking our reviews since offering these particular laser treatments. When asked at the end of each appointment, patients always say they would prefer the laser without anesthesia for any and all procedures, which, in turn, provides my team with a simple lead-in for requested reviews.

In my experience, there is truly nothing in dentistry right now quite like the 9.3-µm CO2 all-tissue laser technology. Procedures are shorter, you can routinely work in multiple quadrants, and patients are truly excited! When is the last time your patients were excited about getting multi-quadrant fillings in your practice? When were you last excited to do them? 

By incorporating this laser into your practice, You will see that scheduling and patient compliance will take a sharp turn for the best. To date, no other product has delivered a level of effectiveness or propelled our practice growth quite like this. The Solea is a stellar jump in laser technology, and it has truly benefited my patients and practice. 

It has been a 12-year hard- and soft-tissue laser journey for me to finally arrive at this point of complete satisfaction with my laser. I am almost two years into using the 9.3-µm wavelength and have seen it’s versatility in procedures and wireless updates . The fact that this laser actually does what it says in turn allows dentists to deliver on the promises many of us have always dreamed about in laser dentistry, and patients rave about the experience. The technology does what is claimed and is truly easy enough for any dentist to use, that to me is truly transcendent. 

Dr. Spector is a nationally renowned speaker and lecturer on new dental techniques and patient care. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and has served as a clinical associate professor at New York University, teaching surgical and prosthetic implantology. He is a Fellow of the AGD and the International Congress of Oral Implantology as well. He can be reached at andrewspector42@gmail.com.

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