clinician spotlight

A Holistic Approach to Oral Health Through
Dental Laser Technology

By Dr. Sarah Balaster and Katie Schiller, RDH

Dr. Sarah Balaster, DMD, periodontist, shares her first-hand experience integrating BIOLASE dental lasers into her patient’s oral health treatment paradigm, along with Katie Schiller, RDH hygienist certified in laser-assisted periodontal therapy (LAPT).

Empowering Your Team with Innovative Technology and Training

We have been using BIOLASE laser technology for the past five years. Our New York-based practice currently utilizes the Epic soft tissue diode lasers. We made the decision to adopt lasers into our practice after receiving consistent feedback from our patients that they were interested in laser treatment for preventative and post-operative care.

I’m a firm believer in empowering hygienists and reminding them that they are invaluable to each patient’s care. One way I support this is by encouraging training and access to innovative technology, specifically dental lasers. Katie Schiller, RDH, was our first hygienist trained with the diode laser which gave her an acute focus on the etiologic aspect of hygiene itself, bacteria. Once we got Katie trained in administering the laser technology, this allowed our practice to flourish as the technology served as a means to attract and recruit other brilliant, like-minded hygienists to join our team. 

Epic Laser Dentistry - Dr. Sarah Balaster

We initially invested in BIOLASE’s laser technology as a part of the periodontal treatment protocol, but soon expanded our capabilities for preventative care techniques. This allowed us to incorporate laser bacterial reduction to prevent the onset of periodontal disease, especially in patients who experience higher risk factors for developing the disease, such as gingivitis, diabetes, tobacco and/or nicotine addiction, Crohn’s disease, hormone fluxuations, depression, etc.

We were able to incorporate laser bacterial reduction with adult prophylaxis, which was an added bonus for patients who had a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. When I was pregnant and nursing, I developed pregnancy-induced gingivitis and was actually one of Katie’s first patients! Katie was doing laser bacterial reduction with my cleanings and took advantage to reduce inflammation reduction which added a new level of comfort to my care.

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Today’s patients are highly in-tune with the level of care they receive in the dental office. Incorporating dental lasers into our practice allowed us to bring state-of-the-art care to our patients. Some additional benefits of note that lasers brought to our practice are; holistic patient care, shortened procedure time, reduced pain and discomfort, and increased patient compliance.

Another way we elevate the hygiene experience for patients is through Epic X teeth whitening services. This treatment takes as little as 20 – 30 minutes versus a full hour of treatments. Lasers also allow us to treat temporomandibular disorders (TMD) with the biostimulation wand that comes with the Epic X. Having these lasers has only increased patient acceptance and ultimately patient trust.

With our influx of patients due to the laser integration, we’ve had the ability to expand our practice and recruit other dental professionals at the top of the field who are interested in the ability to work with high caliber technology such as BIOLASE lasers. Due to the overall positive experience, I have continued to be at the top of my game in learning more procedures, trying new techniques, and continuing education through the Waterlase Perio Academy. Katie has elevated our practice to deliver first-class patient care and continues her education/training through the Epic Hygiene Academy – a community of leading hygienists and dental specialists dedicated to sharing and improving hygiene outcomes and patient care.

The Dental Laser Experience Speaks for Itself

As COVID-19 cases have fallen and vaccinations have become more readily available, patients are returning to in-person dental visits. We’ve noticed that patients are more eager now than ever to get back into the dental chair, especially when they’re aware that we offer laser treatment.

In Katie’s opinion, the biggest benefit of dental lasers in her hands is the ability to immediately reduce inflammation through laser bacterial reduction which ultimately improves patients’ systemic health. Patients are thrilled to see immediate results, while also experiencing minimal pain and discomfort. Katie enjoys elevating her hygiene practice by focusing on removing the root cause of periodontal disease, inflammation, and bacteria.

Before and after

Patient Care is Our Priority

One patient in particular that stands out to both of us was a new mother with twin infants. This particular patient was nursing and had developed a severe case of inflammation around her gums. This hit home – not only because I experienced similar symptoms firsthand, but also because women’s health is one of the core focuses of our practice. I also knew from personal experience that this patient would be in good hands under Katie’s treatment.

Like so many mothers, this patient had her hands full taking care of her children and had limited energy and time left in the day to address her healthcare needs. Katie and I were thankful to have access to laser technology in this instance, as we were able to treat her inflammation quickly, safely, and effectively all in one visit. Once the patient saw how quick, virtually painless, and easy the appointment was, she continued to come in for regular care maintenance to prevent further inflammation onset.

And while dental lasers hold a special place in our practice for caring for our expectant mothers, the benefits certainly carry to all those who enter our doors– as well as those who work within them! BIOLASE dental lasers have created insurmountable benefits to my practice and many of my staff members have reflected that the ability to get trained in various laser dentistry techniques has increased their professional skills, as well as their passion for continuing education within the industry.

Ready to be part of the dental laser revolution?

BIOLASE is offering select dentists an obligation-free opportunity to integrate minimally invasive Waterlase laser technology into your practice. Visit the Waterlase Exclusive Trial Program to learn more!

Dr. Sarah Balaster

About Sarah Balaster, DMD

Board Certified in Periodontics & Dental Implant Surgery, Advanced training in Laser Dentistry

Dr. Sarah (Oshman) Balaster practices periodontics in the Hudson Valley at a Dental Care Alliance Affiliated office. She stands for identifying and removing barriers between patients and care. She strives to empower clinicians to improve both their lives and their clinical practice outcomes. Dr. Balaster continuously works to elevate dental hygiene, dentistry, and oral health care.

Her articles have been featured on the covers of Inside Dentistry and Compendium. She is a Key Opinion Leader and expert Panel Member for industry leaders in laser dentistry and dental technology. She received her DMD from Rutgers School of Dental Medicine and earned her certificate in Periodontics from the NYU College of Dentistry.

Learn more about Dr. Balaster and her practice, visit Dentists’ Office of the Hudson Valley.

Katie Kschiller, RDH

About Katie Schiller, RDH

Katie Schiller after receiving her associate’s in applied science in dental hygiene from Hudson Valley Community College entered the dental field to explore her passion for patient care and education. Her goals as a dental hygienist are to educate children and adults about the oral-systemic link and to provide world-class dental hygiene care to all of her patients. Katie is certified in laser-assisted periodontal therapy (LAPT) and holds an associate fellowship from the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry and has completed the Diode online training course from the world clinical laser institute. In 2020, Katie was certified as a guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT) clinician and now works for EMS as a Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT) trainer. Currently, Katie is the Training and Development Coordinator for the dental hygiene department at Dental Care Alliance.