Improving pediatric laser dentistry with Solea

August 2, 2018

One pediatric dentist shares her experience with using this all-tissue dental laser.

Andrea Gamble, DDS, is a pediatric dentist who owns Local Smile Co. in California. She strives to provide high-quality patient care, which is why she invested in the Solea® dental laser from Convergent Dental. Since incorporating the laser into her practice, Dr. Gamble says she’s been able to offer improved patient experiences without using anesthesia.

Tell me a little about your background.

I’m a pediatric dentist and private practice owner of Local Smile Co. in Redondo Beach, California. I received my Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Washington and a pediatric dentistry specialty degree from the University of Southern California and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles Advanced Pediatric Dentistry Program. I’m also a board-certified Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. 

Read more: How to enhance patient experiences with the Solea laser

What type of dental practice do you own?

I have a small boutique pediatric dental practice that allows us to provide high-quality oral healthcare personalized for each and every patient. We specialize in happy smiles for infants, children and teens in a relaxing, warm and friendly environment. 

What’s the philosophy of your practice?

Our practice philosophy is built on pillars that we believe lead to long-term successful oral health outcomes. Our primary goal is focused on preventive dental care to help each child grow a happy and healthy smile. We know how important early dental experiences are and how it sets the foundation for the lifetime of the child’s oral health and wellness. That’s why we incorporated the Solea dental laser into our practice. It goes hand in hand with our philosophy to provide state-of-the-art, minimally invasive dentistry, thus minimizing dental fears for children. The integration of Solea into our practice helps meet our goal of being a dental home, as we are now treating the whole family while giving them the highest level of care with an improved dental experience. 

Why laser dentistry? What made you decide to explore this technology?

I purchased my dental practice in September 2016. For the first time, I was able to ask myself what I truly wanted out of a dental practice. My goal is to provide my patients with the best dental experience possible. I researched every aspect of my practice to help meet this goal, including our name, online presence and office esthetics that welcome all. Laser dentistry with Solea meets my goal of delivering the highest quality of care and giving my patients an incredible experience.  

I feel that laser dentistry is going to be the standard of care, especially for pediatric dentistry. Why give injections to children for simple dental procedures when there’s technology that can avoid it all together? To decrease the need for sedation in young children is especially important. I purchased Solea only nine months after starting my practice and it was the best decision I ever made in my career.

Related reading: 10 ways lasers can make your practice money right now

What would you say to those dentists reluctant to use laser technology in their practice?

Just do it! Dentists are reluctant to get laser technology because of learning something new. The scary part is just getting out of our comfort zone. I’ve practiced conventional dentistry for years prior to integrating Solea into our practice. You have to really be ready to accept and integrate advanced technology. Change isn’t easy, but the future is here, and it’s not hard to do with Solea. I tell my colleagues to trust in themselves. Don’t sell yourself short -- anyone can do it! If dentists are reluctant to get laser technology due to the cost, I truly believe that there’s a larger cost to pay by not integrating laser technology into their practice. Today’s laser technology offers an improved, progressive means of delivering superior dental care well beyond the lasers that were on the market five or 10 years ago. If you want the very best for your patients, laser dentistry is the key that unlocks the door to unprecedented success.

Why did you choose Solea?

I integrated Solea into my practice to offer an improved patient experience without anesthesia, which is so important for children. I only hoped Solea would make my practice grow and change it for the better.  Never did I imagine it would actually transform my practice. 

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How does Solea’s performance compare to other lasers on the market?

In my opinion, it doesn’t compare to other lasers on the market, and that’s why I chose Solea. Solea is the only dental laser that makes clinical sense to meet all our needs - the science behind the laser says it all.  The major “wow” factors for me are:

1. A wavelength that specifically targets the tissues in the oral cavity for hard and soft tissue, allowing users to ablate hard tissue quickly and with precision and providing truly reliable, anesthesia-free restorative procedures.

2. A variable-speed footpedal that’s intuitive and easy to use.

3. Computer-controlled galvos that are Wi-Fi enabled and updated regularly. It’s an incredible laser that keeps getting better and better with each update.

4. It’s an incredible soft tissue laser - no bleeding, no sutures and less post-op discomfort.

How does it make the practice of dentistry easier?

In a nut shell, patients are simply happier! They’re so excited about the technology and the major benefits that Solea provides that acceptance to care is so much higher. Soft tissue procedures are so simple; they’re quick and easy with no bleeding, no sutures and no anesthesia.

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What benefits/difference have you found that Solea makes in your day-to-day workflow and/or production?

I’m able to be so much more efficient and productive. I’m able to do more of what I was already doing, but now I can perform multi-quadrant dentistry and I’ve added new soft tissue procedures to my in-house offerings that were previously referred out. 

I have a small 750-square-foot boutique pediatric dental practice, but Solea allows me to be so efficient that my office doesn’t feel so small. I can’t increase my office space at this time, but I can better utilize my time, and I can’t imagine practicing without it now. It provides a phenomenal dental experience to both me and my patients and has generated practice growth far beyond anything I imagined. 

What benefits does it bring to your patients?

Solea has absolutely amazing technology and it’s a complete game changer for dentistry. As a pediatric dentist, Solea has countless benefits for all involved.

Specifically, my patients (toddlers, children and teens) now get to experience anesthesia-free, restorative dentistry and, in most cases, this means no shots! If needed, they’re also able to get multiple procedures done and over within one visit, and the chair time is actually shorter, which means less time missed from school. In addition, there are no worries on either end about post-anesthesia soft tissue injuries, or children just generally being uncomfortable and upset from being numb. Since using Solea, I’ve also had a dramatic drop in the need for sedation.

Moreover, Solea allows me to treat teeth and the surrounding areas much more conservatively, which is important in dentistry. Solea is so precise that I’m able to remove only the diseased part of the tooth while preserving healthy tooth structure. What’s more, soft tissue procedures heal so much faster and there’s less post-op discomfort and less need for analgesics. The best part of using Solea is that the kids leave happy, like nothing happened! When asked how their experience was with Solea, the most common answers from my patients are “It was fun,” “It felt good,” or “Umm … nothing …” It’s nothing short of wonderful to witness the great experience they received.

For the parents, they now appreciate fewer and shorter visits for treatment appointments, which means less time missed from work. Sometimes same-day treatment is the real key to convenience and compliance - and the appointments are so much shorter now.

Plus, watching their children experience pain-free, anesthesia-free dentistry is so comforting. Many of the parents are more anxious during the dental visit than their children due to their own fears or previous traumatic dental experiences with needles and/or sounds of the drill. A child’s behavior in the dental setting is often related to his or her parent’s own anxiety. With Solea, parents are more relaxed with a positive attitude and, in turn, the child is calmer. The parents are very excited and inquisitive about Solea. We’re able to build strong relationships with our families as a result of taking away these major fears. 

Read more: 5 reasons to revisit lasers for your dental practice

In addition, parents no longer have to worry about their child being upset or complaining about numbness following the procedure. They can take them right back to school, sporting events, or grab a bite to eat. They actually leave the office wanting to visit a Solea dentist too. They’re so impressed by the technology and the experience that this laser provides.

Furthermore, for the dental team, Solea has allowed for less needles and less risk of sharps injuries. Our staff is also very proud to offer the best dental care and services to our patients with laser dentistry.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I think that when dentists first hear about the Solea laser, they probably have doubts and feel that it’s too good to be true, but Solea really delivers what it promises. Convergent Dental backs Solea with a 90-day money-back guarantee, which is something I rarely see in the industry. I urge anyone who’s interested in integrating laser dentistry into their practice to talk to Solea dentists that use it on a daily basis. You’ll be astounded to hear about and see the results that Solea delivers and how it’s actually advancing the practice of dentistry. In addition, Convergent Dental fully supports Solea and its customers with an extremely responsive customer support team while fostering a close-knit community of dentists who help each other become better clinicians through an online website (soleadoctors.com) and an annual user’s group meeting. The company promotes a unique culture that drives life-long learning experiences and encourages dentists to want to learn more, do more, be better and give their very best to their patients.