Solea® Dental Laser
Increasing effeciency and enhancing the patient experience
Scott Pope, DDS
As healthcare providers, dental professionals are always looking to increase practice efficiency while improving the patient experience. Although lasers have been around for decades, one has truly transformed the way I practice dentistry and has actually changed the way that patients feel about accepting treatment—increasing patient compliance and taking my business to an unprecedented level.
The Solea® 9.3 μm CO2 all-tissue laser provides many advantages, including reliable anesthesia-free, blood-free, and pain-free procedures; minimal healing time; and shorter chair time. Solea treats both hard and soft tissue with great precision, offering incomparable versatility that has greatly expanded the scope of procedures I am able to offer my patients.
With Solea, the two components most feared by patients—the needle and drill—are eliminated. Imagine telling a patient that you’ve found a carious lesion and saying, “I can take care of this right now in 10 minutes with no need for an anesthetic or a drill.” It’s hard not to get a “Yes, let’s do it” answer from the patient.
Furthermore, the Solea dental laser adds all of these extra avenues of efficiency into my practice. I now routinely perform multi-quadrant dentistry, and most procedures are completed in 5 to 10 minutes. Many patients are in and out with no second appointment necessary. In addition, our hygienist uses it for scaling and root planing as well as debridement procedures that previously would have to be reappointed.
As a veteran laser user, the first time that I tried Solea, I knew this laser was superior. When I first applied it to the tooth structure, it was extremely smooth and easy to operate. The preparations were very clean with no pockmarks or craters. I was truly impressed.
My first procedure was a gingival re-contouring case. Moving the Solea around to sculpt tissue was as effortless as using a paintbrush. With the diode laser, I really had to scrub the tissue to remove it; the Solea provided a completely different experience. Procedures such as this that typically took minutes now only take seconds.
The learning curve was extremely easy. In a short period of time, I was able to maneuver and control depth like I had been using the laser for years. The intuitive easy-to-use software and variable speed foot pedal enable any dentist to practice laser dentistry. The foot pedal works similarly to the handpieces that we use every day. Pressing softly allows the practitioner to cut soft tissue, while a harder press is required to cut hard tissue. This allows for a seamless transition between tissue types.
There are more uses for Solea than I ever imagined, including Class I to Class V caries preparations, fibroma removals, gingivectomies, de-pigmentations, osseous crown lengthening, sulcular debridement, and treatments for implant exposure, aphthous ulcers, leukoplakia, and lichen planus, just to name a few. I recently did a frenectomy, and I couldn’t believe how quick and painless it was for the patient. No anesthesia was needed, there was minimal bleeding, and the postoperative time lasted only a few days.
My next steps will be to incorporate it into bone augmentation procedures and use it to treat peri-implantitis cases, which we’ve always referred out. It’s nice to keep more dentistry in the practice, and the Solea helps me do just that.
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Scott Pope, DDS, maintains a private practice in Walnut Creek, California, and has achieved Fellowship status with the Academy of General Dentistry and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.