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How the Solea laser helped reignite a career

Dental Products ReportDental Products Report February 2020
Volume 54
Issue 2

Dr. Sarah Pless is a practicing dentist in Wilmington, N.C., and a 2006 graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. Photo credits: MILLIE HOLLOMAN PHOTOGRAPHY and MATT RAY.

After graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry in 2006, I moved to Wilmington, N.C., and began my dental career at a large group practice. I practiced there for 10 years, leaving just before my second child was born.

Working in a group practice setting was a very valuable experience, but I was looking for a higher degree of freedom and flexibility in my schedule. I wanted my dentistry to accommodate my family life, and that was a motivating factor to open my own practice. Additionally, the way that technology has changed what it means to go to the dentist was incredibly alluring. So in January 2018, I opened my own practice-Renaissance Dental Studio-in Wilmington, N.C. 

Technology ties it all together

As I was opening my practice I had a strong desire to incorporate innovative and advanced technology, such as Convergent Dental’s Solea® all-tissue laser, to help my dentistry overcome the hurdles that keep patients out of the dental chair. It’s really all about offering three things from our first interactions to time in the office­-comfort, convenience, and value. 

In addition to Solea, I’ve integrated many other technologies my team and I use on a daily basis, all of which provide added value, not only for our team, but also more importantly, for our patients.

I have 3D imaging, iTero® digital impression systems, and in-office milling for producing single-visit restorations. But the one technology that truly sets my practice apart from the rest is the Solea all-tissue CO2 dental laser with a 9.3 µm wavelength. As a matter of fact, I purchased Solea before my practice was even finished being built-it was the first new technology I absolutely knew I had to have.

The Solea “a-ha!” moment

I was invited to a “dinner and a demo” event for Solea, and was instantly blown away by what I saw-fast, efficient, minimally invasive cavity preps without the need for anesthesia injections! I knew if I could reduce patients’ fear and anxiety, we could really change the experience for the better. And if Solea is not the ultimate example of how science changes the art of dentistry, I don’t know what is. Being able to largely eliminate injections for bread-and-butter restorative dentistry is a complete game-changer. There was no way I could NOT have Solea be a part of my new practice. Solea was in perfect alignment with everything I wanted my practice to be. I was going to start with zero patients after leaving the group practice, so that was nerve-racking, but I knew my soon-to-be patients were going to love Solea as much as I did. 

Why do I love Solea so much? It’s the most versatile and practical tool in my practice for performing a multitude of hard- and soft-tissue procedures. I wouldn’t call it a nice-to-have; rather, it’s a must-have for my office. Initially, I was attracted to Solea for hard-tissue procedures such as cavity preparations. However, I’ve also used it successfully for tongue-tie/frenectomy procedures, oral tissue biopsies, and esthetic gingival recontouring.

We’ve used Solea successfully on lips, such as for blue nevus resurfacing, and canker sore treatment, too. We started performing Icon whitening for white-spot lesions on front teeth and we use Solea first to resurface the lesions, allowing us to etch more effectively and ensure better outcomes. 

An ideal team player

I have an associate now, Dr. Christian Cook, and after only 10 days in practice I sent him to be trained on using Solea. He took to the laser right away-he’s a natural. Being fresh out of dental school, he mastered Solea immediately and he does practically every filling now with Solea. When he shares his Solea stories with his dental school friends who are also new to practice, he comes to tell me how happy he is to be using this new technology so it’s been a real win-win for his start into dentistry, too. 

Dr. Pless and her associate Dr. Cook make sure that laughter is always part of the daily production schedule.

The laser has been a great driver of new patients to my practice, and I have seen more pediatric patients in two years than I did in the last 10 years, hence the need to hire an associate. 

Differentiation’s impact

The Wilmington market is incredibly saturated with general dentists-we have roughly tripled the number in the last 10 years. With that many dental offices, differentiation is key to attracting and retaining patients; you have to do something a little bit different, and Solea was the first tangible thing I could incorporate to make my practice stand out among the others.

With the laser, I can say, “No injections required for fillings,” and that’s music to the ears of most patients. So if you have any desire to attract new patients you’d never have access to otherwise, you have to have Solea.


• Operates at a unique wavelength with sophisticated, yet simple computer controls that enable high-speed, precision cutting on both hard and soft tissu

• Works on everything from gingiva and dentin to enamel and bone

Convergent Dental
844-GO-SOLEA  |  convergentdental.com 

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