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Compendium
June 2024
Volume 45, Issue 6

One Dentist’s Experience With Laser-Assisted Irrigation and Other Learnings From a General Practitioner Doing Endodontics

Brad Labrecque, DMD

I've dedicated my career to integrating advanced laser technology into modern dental practices. Raised in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, I completed my Biochemistry degree (BSc [Hon]) and Doctorate in Dental Medicine (DMD) at the University of Saskatchewan. Since starting my practice in 1984, I've been passionate about laser dentistry and have dedicated countless hours to training dental practitioners worldwide.

My Journey With Waterlase Technology

Early in my career, I recognized the potential of laser technology to transform dental care. I was one of the first dentists in Canada to implement lasers in clinical practice. My practical experience, combined with extensive continuing education, has made me a global authority on laser dentistry.

Waterlase technology stood out for its ability to enhance patient care and streamline dental procedures. It is not just for specialists; general practitioners can seamlessly integrate this technology into their practices, significantly improving clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Practical Benefits of Waterlase Technology

Waterlase technology has numerous benefits that are particularly advantageous for general practitioners:

Ease of learning and use: One of the standout features of Waterlase is its user-friendly interface. The step-by-step protocol guides make it accessible even for those new to laser dentistry. The intuitive design ensures that practitioners can quickly become proficient, reducing the learning curve significantly.

Versatility across procedures: Waterlase is not limited to endodontic treatments. It can be used for a wide range of dental procedures, from cavity preparations to soft-tissue surgeries. This versatility enhances the overall value of the investment, making it a practical choice for general practices.

Patient comfort and satisfaction: In my experience, patients have significantly reduced postoperative sensitivity and inflammation due to the precise and gentle nature of laser treatment. In my experience, Waterlase's laser apical patency technique ensures that many of the portals of exit are cleaned while minimizing apical inflammation, leading to reduced postoperative sensitivity for patients. For me, this translates to fewer complaints and higher satisfaction rates, leading to positive word-of-mouth referrals and excellent online reviews. Since implementing Waterlase, I do a lot more single visits and patients are pleased they don't have to come in again-it's a win-win situation.

Clinical Efficacy and Safety

While my approach to integrating Waterlase is grounded in practical experience, it's important to highlight some key clinical benefits that make this technology a game-changer:

Effective debris and smear layer removal: Studies have shown that Waterlase laser-assisted irrigation significantly improves the removal of debris and the smear layer from root canals compared to traditional needle irrigation.1,2 This leads to more thorough cleaning and better treatment outcomes. The laser also eliminates vapor lock, where the bubbles generated by the laser disrupt and eliminate air pockets that can trap bacteria and prevent irrigants from reaching all areas of the canal.3

Enhanced disinfection: Research indicates that Waterlase, combined with sodium hypochlorite or chlorhexidine, can reduce Enterococcus faecalis colonies by more than 99.9%.4 This level of disinfection is crucial for preventing infections and ensuring long-term success.

Bactericidal effects: The bactericidal effect of laser-activated irrigation is particularly noteworthy. Studies have demonstrated that Er,Cr:YSGG lasers, when used with sodium hypochlorite, present the strongest bactericidal effects among tested protocols.5

Economic and Marketing Benefits

Investing in Waterlase technology can offer significant returns for general practices:

Attracting new patients: The advanced, minimally invasive nature of laser treatments can attract patients seeking modern dental care. Highlighting the benefits of laser technology in marketing materials can differentiate a practice and draw in new clients. Patients are often already familiar with the benefits of lasers in other medical uses.

Practice growth: Improved patient experience often leads to more referrals, more procedures kept in house, and positive reviews, essential for building and sustaining a successful practice. The efficiency of Waterlase also allows for more procedures to be completed in a single visit in my experience, optimizing practice operations.

Personal Commitment and Future Outlook

I use Waterlase on every case, for every patient, every time. The consistent, high-quality results it provides have made it an integral part of my practice. By embracing Waterlase, I can offer better care and ensure successful long-term outcomes for my patients.

The future of dentistry will likely see greater adoption of laser technology due to its minimally invasive nature and superior cleaning capabilities. As more research validates its efficacy, more practitioners will integrate lasers into their practices. Investing in training and familiarization with Waterlase's functionality is crucial to maximizing its benefits.

For both patients and practitioners, Waterlase offers numerous advantages. Patients benefit from reduced postoperative sensitivity, faster healing, and fewer treatment sessions. Practitioners enjoy enhanced cleaning and disinfection, improved treatment outcomes, and increased efficiency in performing a variety of dental procedures.

My experience with Waterlase technology underscores its transformative impact on general dental practice. By embracing innovative tools and techniques, I continue to provide exceptional care, ensuring the best possible outcomes for my patients.

I have dedicated my career to learning new technologies and always staying at the forefront of new treatment modalities, and as a laser user of close to three decades, the best endodontic treatment tool for me is Waterlase. Waterlase offered a solution that aligned perfectly with my commitment to preserving as much tooth structure as possible while effectively removing bacteria and debris with activated irrigation. Extensive research and clinical evidence supporting Waterlase's efficacy played a crucial role in my decision to incorporate it into my practice.

- Brad Labrecque, DMD
 
General dentist whose focus is on incorporating laser technology in the modern dental practice
 

References

1. Wang X, Cheng X, Liu B, et al. Effect of laser-activated irrigations on smear layer removal from the root canal wall. Photomed Laser Surg. 2017;35(12):688-694.

2. Betancourt P, Merlos A, Sierra JM, et al. Er,Cr:YSGG laser-activated irrigation and passive ultrasonic irrigation: comparison of two strategies for root canal disinfection. Photobiomodul Photomed Laser Surg. 2020;38(2):91-97.

3. Peeters HH, De Moor RJG, Suharto D. Visualization of removal of trapped air from the apical region in simulated root canals by laser-activated irrigation using an Er,Cr:YSGG laser. Lasers Med Sci. 2015;30(6):1683-1688.

4. Aydin SA, Taşdemir T, Buruk CK, Çelik D. Efficacy of erbium, chromium-doped yttrium, scandium, gallium and garnet laser-activated irrigation compared with passive ultrasonic irrigation, conventional irrigation, and photodynamic therapy against Enterococcus faecalis. J Contemp Dent Pract. 2020;21(1):11-16.

5. Wang X, Cheng X, Liu X, et al. Bactericidal effect of various laser irradiation systems on Enterococcus faecalis biofilms in dentinal tubules: a confocal laser scanning microscopy study. Photomed Laser Surg. 2018;36(9):472-479.

 

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