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    Technology evolution and the Gemini laser

    How technology advancements—and one unique diode laser—are changing the way dentists practice.

    The progression of technology in our world is amazing. I was recently talking with some friends and we were discussing the changes that we’ve seen since our college years. We were all pretty stunned by the changes that have taken place. When you think about it, technology has not only made our lives a lot easier in a lot of ways, but it’s also made our access to technology a lot less expensive.

    Here are a few examples we came up with:

    Long-distance calling. Remember when we paid to place calls outside our local area code or state? One friend reminded us of an ad campaign by Sprint that introduced spokesperson Candice Bergen as “The Dime Lady,” because the company had dropped their long-distance rates to 10 cents per minute!

    Mobile phones. I lamented to them that my first “car phone” was only $1,200. This high-tech device was actually hardwired into my car so it wasn’t portable. It also took techs eight hours to install it. Oh, and I had one hour of free talk time before the rate went to 50 cents per minute. For those of you a tad younger than me, the “car phone” was replaced by the infamous “bag phone” three or four years later.

    Fax machines. These things were several hundred dollars, produced barely legible copy and required a separate business phone line (which was of course much more expensive than a residential line).

    So, what does this have to do with lasers and laser usage in our profession? Simply put, just like technology has advanced to give us affordable and amazingly powerful tech at our very fingertips, clinical lasers have evolved tremendously. As an example of the advances these incredible devices have made, let’s look at one of the newest on the market, the Ultradent Gemini.

    Trending article: Choosing a dental laser for your practice

    Shrinking costs

    I’ve been working with lasers in a clinical setting for more than 20 years. When I first began my laser quest, the prices were substantial. Back in the late 90s, purchasing a diode laser was an investment that a practice really had to think about. Prices back then were universally over the $20,000 mark, which was an impediment for a lot of offices. Doctors who investigated the product category understood the clinical advantages of the devices, but many had a hard time justifying the cost.

    Fast forward to today and diode laser prices have fallen over 50 percent.  What was at one time an extravagance has now entered the financial zone of affordability.

    The Gemini is perhaps the most sophisticated diode laser on the market today and yet it costs less than $8,000.

    Related reading: The benefits of a better laser: the BIOLASE Epic Pro

    Shrinking footprints

    Something else that has changed dramatically in the last 20 years is the size of our electronic devices, diode lasers included. The diode laser of the late 90s was about the size of a large video projector with a weight of over 10 pounds. Due to the size and weight, these were cart-based devices, which necessitated them being wheeled into a treatment area whenever they were needed. Not convenient and definitely a hassle.

    The Ultradent Gemini is a mere 6.7 inches long x 5 inches wide x 10.1 inches tall. 

    The height is something well worth having as the Gemini possesses the best screen of any dental device I’ve ever seen. It has a transparent electroluminescent display that projects the needed information onto a glass screen. The appearance of the screen is so stunning that I have gotten into the habit of always turning the unit on where the patient can see it. When the screen begins to glow, I never fail to get a positive reaction. 

    Combine that with the fact that the Gemini weighs a mere 2.2 pounds. This exceptionally light weight makes the device totally portable with no need for a cart; in fact, it can be easily carried with one hand. It also contains a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery that will provide power for one to 1½ hours before requiring a charge. That is more than enough battery power to accomplish any procedure. 

    The Gemini also comes equipped with a cordless foot pedal. This Bluetooth-enabled controller means there is no fighting with, or tripping over, wires that could bring the laser crashing down.

    The lack of a power cord and a foot cord is a tremendous advantage for a device that many offices may bring in only when needed.

    More on dental lasers: The benefits of the Solea laser

     

    Continue to page two for more...

    Dr. John Flucke
    Dr. John Flucke is in private practice in Lee’s Summit, Mo. He also serves as technology editor for Dental Products Report magazine and ...

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