How to grow your practice with the WaterLase iPlus dental laser [VIDEO]

Dental Products ReportDental Products Report-2013-08-01
Issue 8

You want to provide the best care possible, and give patients a reason to come back to your practice. You need to find a way to set yourself apart, to get patients talking about your practice and the great experience they had while there.

You want to provide the best care possible, and give patients a reason to come back to your practice. You need to find a way to set yourself apart, to get patients talking about your practice and the great experience they had while there.

We recently talked with two dentists who say incorporating laser dentistry into your practice is one way to make that happen. Not only has it set them apart, it’s opened up new opportunities and helped renew their passion for what they do every day.

Here, Drs. Christopher Mast and Larry Cole describe their experience with the WaterLase iPlus from Biolase and how laser dentistry has helped them grow their practices and better serve their patients.

Dr. Christopher Mast,

Helena, Montana; 850 patients

When Dr. Christopher Mast opened his practice in Helena, Montana 10 years ago, he knew he needed to create a niche for himself, to find a way to stand out.

There hadn’t been a new practice in town for at least 10 years, and Dr. Mast knew he’d have to offer something different if he wanted to succeed in Helena, where he earned his undergraduate degree. That’s why he decided to incorporate laser dentistry into his practice pretty early on.

Today, patients travel from as far as 600 miles to see Dr. Mast, all because they know he offers laser dentistry. His patients have come to expect it, and are happy to tell their friends and family about the great experience they have at Mast Family Dentistry.

Why lasers

Dr. Mast first incorporated laser dentistry into his practice about eight years ago, and added the Biolase WaterLase iPlus about a year ago. He loves how clean and precise lasers are, and the fact that patients leave his practice with far less trauma and swelling. In the time he’s used lasers in his practice, he hasn’t administered any shots to children who need fillings, which is a huge benefit for both the children and their parents.

“Lasers are part of a minimally invasive philosophy of care,” Dr. Mast said. “If you have something like a DIAGNOdent, you can get the angle of a cavity going into the tooth and you can take it out with a precise instrument. You’re saving tooth structure by having that kind of precision and accuracy. That’s beneficial to me and it’s beneficial to my patients.”

Talking to patients about laser dentistry

Most patients are receptive to laser dentistry, Dr. Mast said, and it’s even why many patients are attracted to his practice.

Even so, there are some patients who are leery, and think of lasers as sci-fi Star Wars tools. Dr. Mast takes the time to educate his patients about laser dentistry, and all the benefits that come with it, from not needing shots, to less trauma to shorter procedure times.

“I just explain all the different things about how it works and why it’s better for them and people get really excited about it,” Dr. Mast said. “If you do a filling on a kid and then have the parents back to see how it works, it’s enough to convince them that lasers are pretty cool.”

Getting the word out

If you offer laser dentistry, you have to find a way to let people know about it. Dr. Mast has advertised on TV as well as in print and online, and has advertisements on his practice windows to let patients know he’s a WaterLase dentist, but none of those advertising efforts compare to word of mouth.

“In the end the best marketing is that mom who walks out of here and is like, ‘wow that was awesome. My kid came in and had three cavities filled, didn’t need a shot and didn’t feel weird or groggy after,’” Dr. Mast said. “To have people tell me I need to be meaner to their kids because they want them to remember how this was so they don’t get more cavities, those responses have been the best marketing for us. Moms tell other moms.”

New opportunities

The WaterLase enables Dr. Mast to perform procedures he couldn’t otherwise perform, which means patients don’t have to travel to a specialist an hour away to get work done. He’s able to do procedures that may have taken multiple visits in the past in one day, and he can take care of problems in seconds, problems that patients have lived with for years because they didn’t want to go through surgery.

“It’s allowed me to look at the bigger picture instead of saying you have to go to a specialist. Now it takes me 10 seconds to take a lesion off the side of a cheek and it won’t bleed. It’s made having lasers more exciting,” Dr. Mast said.

“You charge for the exam and whatever it is you’re taking care of, and it only takes you 30 seconds to a minute. The money is great, but the person walks out of the practice and says he’s been waiting to do that for years, but was scared and now it’s done. Then that patient talks about it at work. That kind of growth and marketing you just can’t do any other way.”

Dr. Larry Cole,

Gilbert, West Virginia; 5,000 patients

After 25 years in the field, Dr. Larry Cole needed something to help revitalize his passion for dentistry.

He found that when he attended a CE course on laser dentistry. He walked away impressed with the technology, and after doing a little research on his own he decided it was just what his small rural practice needed.

Since incorporating Biolase’s WaterLase iPlus into his practice about six months ago, he’s expanded his procedure offerings and now is able to treat children he once turned away.

“It’s really well received,” Dr. Cole said. “It’s less stressful for me and less stressful on them.”

Talking to patients about laser dentistry

Patients have been very receptive, Dr. Cole said, and have come to expect laser dentistry when they walk into his practice. Dr. Cole puts any fears at ease by demonstrating how the laser works, and he even lets patients put their hand out as the laser is running to show them it doesn’t hurt.

He explains there’s no anesthetic involved with laser dentistry, which is a huge plus for patients who just don’t like that numb feeling or needles.

His patients love it

The fact that Dr. Cole offers more procedures now is a huge benefit for the patients he treats in his small town.

The nearest specialist is an hour-and-a-half away, so knowing they don’t have to make that drive and go to another dentist for treatment just gives his patients another reason to love his practice. The more you can offer your patients, the better it is for you and your patients, Dr. Cole said, and patients are happy to tell family and friends about the great experience they had at Dr. Cole’s practice and the technology that made it possible.

“It’s amazing how many patient referrals I get from people who have told family or friends about the laser and how they like it,” Dr. Cole said. “I get a lot of people with dental phobias who want to come in and have laser procedures done.”

Dr. Cole also has done some traditional advertising to let his small community know he now offers WaterLase laser dentistry, but he’s also found the best advertising comes from excited patients who talk to family and friends about the new technology Dr. Cole incorporated into his practice.

It’s worth the investment

The economy still isn’t great in Gilbert, Dr. Cole said, but the initial expense didn’t deter him from making the investment in a WaterLase all-tissue laser. It’s not only renewed his excitement for what he does every day, but it’s also opened up new doors in terms of what he can offer his patients.

“For GPs in small areas, it’s actually a practice builder,” Dr. Cole said. “It’s more exciting for me and I just love doing it. I’m doing more procedures than I was before. I’m incorporating more perio procedures. I do a lot more pediatrics. It’s just a win-win.”


The WaterLase iPlus

The dual-wavelength WaterLase iPlus all-tissue laser is said to deliver more power, control and versatility for experienced laser dentists. Reportedly able to cut hard tissue twice as fast as current laser systems, without the discomfort or risk of cross contamination associated with conventional drills, iPlus creates an optimal bonding surface.

The unit also features an intuitive applications-based user interface with a large, high-resolution touch screen programmed with more than 50 factory-loaded procedure presets.

The iPlus with the proprietary 2780 nm YSGG technology is available in a dual-wavelength configuration with an integrated iLase 940 nm diode laser, or as a stand-alone unit.

The completely wireless iLase will enhance the capabilities of the YSGG by providing a diode laser that can be used for unexpected soft-tissue cases in an adjacent treatment room, better control of bleeding, and the freedom to move around with no foot pedals or cords.

888-424-6527 •


Sponsored by Biolase

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