By Michael Koceja, DDS
“All in.” We hear this term all the time. It signifies that we are making a total commitment to what we are undertaking. No turning back. Unfortunately, with technology we sometimes fail to go “all in.” We spend thousands of dollars, and our new technology ends up in a cabinet, closet, or on eBay.
We have to extend that concept on a daily basis when practicing Dentistry, evaluate why we purchased the technology, and use it until it becomes an integral part of how we practice. An example is incorporating diode laser technology into our practices.
A laser can help with many different procedures, but there are five for which everyone should be using it and benefitting financially and in time savings.
They are: troughing, gingivectomy, an adjunct to scaling and RP, treating apthous ulcers and cold sores, and removal of gingival tissue to facilitate restoration of the tooth.
Every crown needs some degree of tissue correction. A diode laser helps control bleeding and creates an impression you are proud to send to the lab. There is no monetary charge for this procedure, but we save time and get a better-fitting restoration.
Easy-to-use lasers create predictable results. You can remove larger areas of hyperplasic tissue or fine tune cosmetic areas with a paintbrush type motion. These procedures are labeled as codes 4210 or 4211, depending on the extent of teeth involved; I usually include a photo when submitting to insurance.
Adjunct to scaling and RP: numerous clinical studies have shown a periodontal benefit when using a diode laser in conjunction with scaling and RP. Diode lasers help remove diseased soft tissue, creating a healthier soft tissue interface. They can aid in pocket reduction and BOP indices. While there is no insurance coding for laser periodontal treatment, most offices utilizing lasers for this educate the patient and charge an out-of-pocket cost to incorporate the laser.
Treating apthous ulcers and cold sores: Lasers have the ability to biostimulate tissue and aid the body in healing. Lasers also reduce bacterial counts, which again helps our immune system heal ulcers faster. This procedure can be a great practice builder and a nice service to our patients who suffer from these lesions.
Removal of gingival tissue to facilitate restoration of the tooth: many times, decay becomes subgingival, creating a difficult environment to place a restoration. A diode laser can gently remove tissue, usually with little bleeding. Insurance code 4212 now pays for this tissue removal when in conjunction with placing your restoration.
While these are just a few benefits of utilizing a diode laser, it is easy to see how it can be used on a daily basis. Once we see the benefits, we can more easily make the change and go “all in.”
Dr. Koceja practices in Vancouver, WA and can be reached by email at email@example.com or phone 760-500-6189.