More hands-on learning at ALD

24 04 2009
Lori Anderson, RDH practices with the SIROLaser from Sirona

Lori Anderson, RDH practices with the SIROLaser from Sirona

During the work week, hygienists don’t often have the chance to talk with other dental professionals about the lasers they have in their office. They don’t get to compare ideas and see what other people are doing.

That’s why Lori Anderson, RDH, and the other hygienists from Bridge Dentistry by Design in Oklahoma took advantage of the opportunity to try out a variety of lasers during Friday afternoon’s participation course.

They’ve been using a laser in their practice for about a year, but wanted to learn more and really hone their laser skills.

Jeanne Godett, RDH, guides a hygienist as she works with the GENTLEray 980 from KaVo.

Jeanne Godett, RDH, guides a hygienist as she works with the GENTLEray 980 from KaVo.

The hygienists had two hours to work with the lasers, with offerings from Sirona, Zap Lasers, Biolase, KaVo and other manufacturers on hand. Experienced hygienists and manufacturer representatives talked with attendees about each laser as they practiced their skill on a pig’s jaw. Diodes, Co2s and Er:YAGs were among the lasers provided for the workshop.

Jeanne Godett, RDH, was one of the hygienists on hand to offer the teaching, and said the hands-on workshop is a great way for hygienists to experience different types of lasers and different wavelengths.

“The get to feel it and touch it and feel what it does. They can feel it in their hands,” she said. “There’s no comparison to having it in real life.”

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Time to talk

24 04 2009

It starts with the students.

That was one of the take aways from Friday’s lunch hour panel discussion with past ALD presidents, including Dr. Terry Myers and Dr. Kim Kutsch.

Nine former presidents discussed the past, present and future of laser dentistry, with most saying one of the best ways to grow awareness is to teach dental students about the technology before they go out into the world to practice.

Panel members listen as an attendee asks them a question.

Panel members listen as an attendee asks them a question.

Coming together with other organizations and manufacturers, reaching out to general dentists who don’t practice laser dentistry and encouraging current members to become more actively involved in the ALD are other ways to keep the organization and laser dentistry strong.

Reaching these goals won’t come without challenges. Dr. Stewart Rosenberg emphasized the importance of member retention and teaching to the future of laser dentistry.

“It’s creating value,” he said, referring to the annual meeting. “It’s learning a new technique on Friday that you can take back to your practice and use on Monday.”

The talk continued in the afternoon ALD Member Think Tank. Here members shared stories about how laser dentistry has affected their practice and their patients. Social networking and patient communication were among the topics they covered.

 





Lasers and CAD/CAM

24 04 2009

Dr. Eugene Antenucci describes it as the perfect marriage.

“These two technologies (lasers and CAD/CAM) make my life easier,” Dr. Antenucci said during his presentation at ALD’s annual meeting Friday morning. “They make my day flow in a more efficient manner and they make my day fun.”

Dr. Eugene Antenucci

Dr. Eugene Antenucci

Using these technologies together optimizes treatment time, enhances margin visualization and minimizes bleeding, leading to improved restorative care for the patient. Dr. Antenucci also outlined the benefits of CAD/CAM dentistry, including time and cost savings. Chairside CAD/CAM puts control back in the dentists’ hands, he said, because it enables them to fabricate restorations that are no different than what they’d get from a lab.

Drs. Mark Colonna and Enrico DiVito emphasized the point in the next session, presenting a full-mouth rehabilitation case using an Er,Cr: YSGG laser and CAD/CAM technology.

The 47-year-old  patient presented with worn dentition and sensitivity to chewing and drinking. The doctors played a video of part of the procedure, where they both worked on the patient with a Er, Cr:YSGG laser. They also had to prepare 28 teeth for this case. Using laser and CAD/CAM technology, they completed the work in two eight-hour sessions.

“We did this case because we wanted to show you can merge these technologies together,” Dr. DiVito said. “We could show we could do this without drilling and then use CAD/CAM for a full-mouth rehabilitation in 16 hours.”

Laser-assisted cosmetic dentistry, practice management for the entire team, clinical applications in daily practice and photobiomodulation were among other topics attendees had the chance to explore during Friday morning’s meeting.





The exhibit floor

24 04 2009

The Picasso from AMD Lasers is the newest offering on this year’s ALD exhibit floor.

The Picasso from AMD Lasers.

The Picasso from AMD Lasers.

Introduced last month at the IDS meeting in Germany, the Picasso features a touchscreen interface, continuous or pulse modes, customizable presets and an adjustable aiming beam. The lightweight laser comes with a seven-language menu.

Ernest Printzen of Zap Lasers demonstrates how to use the Styla at the ALD meeting in Vegas.

Ernest Printzen of Zap Lasers demonstrates how to use the Styla at the ALD meeting in Vegas.

AMD Lasers is one of about 30 exhibitors at this year’s show. Biolase, Zap Lasers, Sirona, KaVo, HOYA ConBio and Discus Dental are among the other manufacturers ready to show dental professionals the advantages lasers can bring to their practice.





Putting the patient first

23 04 2009

For Drs. Lynda Dean-Duru and Rishita Jaju, the reward comes later.

The reward comes after the ALD meeting is over and they take what they learned back to their pediactric practice in Virginia, where they can use their new knowledge to improve patient care.

“It’s so nice to take things back that you learned and make patients happier and more comfortable,” Dr. Dean-Duru said. “It makes you feel like you’re doing everything you can.”

Both these dentists are new ALD members, taking in the annual event for the first time this year and enjoying the new member reception by the pool Thursday evening. They both already use lasers in their practice, but wanted to learn how to be laser dentists. 

Dr. Rishita Jaju and Dr. Lynda Dean-Duru

Dr. Rishita Jaju and Dr. Lynda Dean-Duru

Dr. Dean-Duru and Dr. Jaju are among the about 50 new dentists who joined the ALD this year, ALD Executive Director Gail Siminovsky said. About 300 people traveled to Vegas for the meeting, which is on par with last year’s number despite the down economy.

“I think people realize it’s hard to find an unbiased approach to laser education,” Siminovsky said of what draws dental professionals to the meeting. “It’s hard to separate a commercial sale and real education in terms of how to use the technology.”

The learning, the camaraderie, the chance to improve treatment for their patients–these are all reasons Dr. Dean-Duru and Dr. Jaja decided to join the ALD.

“It’s the next step,” Dr. Jaja said. “We’re moving toward a place where lasers will be the standard of care, especially with the newer generation of dentists beginning to practice.”





The hands-on advantage

23 04 2009

One of the biggest draws to the ALD’s annual meeting is the chance for some hands-on learning alongside some of the industry’s leading laser dentists.

On Thursday afternoon, some attendees ended their day going after a chicken breast with a SIROLaser 980 from Sirona.

Dr. Marianne Day of New Mexico tries out the SIROLaser as other dentists try to get a closer look.

Dr. Marianne Day of New Mexico tries out the SIROLaser as other dentists try to get a closer look.

The participation course, “Laser Biopsy Techniques,” began with a lecture from Dr. Robert Convissar. He gave the small group an overview of the oral cancer problem and why general dentists should be doing biopsies instead of referring them on to oral surgeons.

Dr. Convissar discussed technique, times when a GP should refer and what should be biopsied. The small group had the opportunity to ask him questions throughout the lecture and during the hands-on participation at the end of class.





It’s all about the learning

23 04 2009

The laser learning continued with general session lectures and parallel sessions Thursday morning at the ALD’s 16th annual conference.

During his morning time slot, Dr. Glenn van As made the case for using Er:YAG lasers in restorative dentistry. He outlined the advantages and disadvantages and reminded attendees that just because they have a laser, doesn’t mean they have to use it for everything. That will only lead to frustration, because a laser isn’t always the best choice.

Dr. Glenn Van

Dr. Glenn van As

“Many of you here have a laser in your dentistry toolbox, but don’t forget there are other things in that tool box that shouldn’t be thrown away,” he said. “I still use my handpiece. You still need blades, magnification systems and handpieces.”

Dr. van As demonstrated clinical cases of 1 through 6 cavity preparaptions and ended the lecture with a live demonstration to show how a Er:YAG laser can be used to prepare teeth in real clinical time. He also discussed and demonstrated the importance of high levels of magnification for the examination and evaluation of laser-tissue interaction and its importance for successful restorative laser procedures.

A talk on dental laser marketing clearances, a session focusing on soft tissue and perio, as well as a session covering practice management for the entire team rounded out the morning’s learning opportunities.