clinician spotlight

Dental Lasers - Essential Equipment in Any Practice

By Russell Morrow, DDS

I have been using dental lasers since graduating from New York University in 2007. Throughout this time I have been able to incorporate a wide variety of lasers in my dental practice, including BIOLASE’s Waterlase iPlus all-tissue laser and the Waterlase Express.

If you were to ask me what the most essential piece of equipment is that a practice can have on hand, I would tell you – without hesitation – that dental lasers are a requirement for any dental professional who desires to grow their practice and improve patient care.

Waterlase Dentist - Dr. Russell

Essential equipment for practice growth

There are very few procedures that I do not augment with a dental laser. One example of the benefit that a laser can offer–and one that has transformed my practice for the better – is the closed flap anterior crown lengthening settings that Waterlase offers. I regularly complete a high number of cosmetic dental procedures in my practice. When I am working on a cosmetic case, I consider the teeth to be similar to an expensive painting. If I were to bring this painting home, I would not take it to a craft store to get it framed, as I would give it the high-end care and protection that it deserves. In this case, that high-end care and protection is the gingiva, and as dentists, we need to have the same care and concern for the gingiva as we do the teeth.

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Dental lasers have also aided me in achieving my goal of becoming a “one-stop-shop” dentist. Before the laser, I did a number of procedures on my own, but I found myself relying on periodontists to support perio, as well as crown lengthening treatments. After incorporating BIOLASE lasers into my standard regimen, I have the ability to see my patients from the beginning to the end of dental treatment, without having to refer them to another specialist, and ultimately having them leave my office to go to a different provider. The ability to complete more procedures in the office also has advanced the growth of my practice.

I have seen firsthand how making the shift to dental lasers for treatments that were once completed with traditional equipment can have a significant impact on practice growth. I was lucky enough to trial the Waterlase Express for a few months before officially adopting it into my practice. After tracking each procedure I completed with the laser, I realized that I had finished enough additional procedures to pay off the entire Express laser. This immediately demonstrated its worth and value to me – the investment was a no-brainer. The first year I used dental lasers in my practice, we experienced 38% growth from year over year.

Essential equipment for better patient care

When it comes to patient care, I am committed to offering high-level care to the patients who enter my office and choose to sit in my chair. I hear on a daily basis how high-tech my office is when patients compare it to their previous dentist. That being said, what surprises me the most is how trusting my patients are when I tell them about our use of laser therapy. Our patients have a strong understanding that lasers are just another piece of equipment that we utilize every day, and there is nothing to be scared of, particularly when they compare it to a drill–a piece of equipment that is often associated with pain. The patient’s ability to trust laser technology comes in part because of their positive experiences with lasers in our dental chair. This equipment has proven to increase patient’s trust in my expertise and our practice as a whole, which is necessary when it comes to building a successful, positive reputation in our community.

One patient experience that comes to mind when I think of the impact dental lasers have had on patient care is when a young lady came to my office after previously experiencing a traumatic endodontic procedure on her front tooth. Unfortunately, she ended up losing that tooth along with the papilla on both sides of it.

This patient came into my office with a lack of trust and was disappointed that she had not found a solution to fix this problem. After a brief discussion about my process and our use of lasers, I demonstrated what cosmetic crown lengthening would look like, as well as what it would take to put bridges and crowns on all of her top teeth. Ultimately, she chose to trust me and the laser technology, and she was thrilled with the final outcome. Stories like these are my ‘why’ for using lasers, as I have never seen that kind of patient satisfaction with other types of equipment.

Why lasers are a must to improve your practice

When I was training a fellow for the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, I looked over at the dentist and told him, “This laser will make you a better dentist.” A week later, he called me to tell me that he used the laser and he agreed. I firmly believe that any dental professional who chooses to use lasers in their practice will improve their patient satisfaction and practice as a whole, but most importantly it will help them to become a better dentist. Dental lasers are a must in my practice, and I cannot recommend them enough.

Dr. Russell Morrow, DDS

About Russell Morrow, DDS

Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Dr. Russell Morrow completed his undergraduate education at the University of Utah, with a major in Exercise Sports Science. He went on to attend New York University College of Dentistry where he earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery.

Dr. Morrow is a President’s Club recipient from Heartland Dental in recognition of his leadership, advanced dental skill, and service to the dental community. He is a Lead Mentor Doctor for Heartland Dental, overseeing the growth of over sixty doctors in three states as well as providing mentorship for hundreds of dentists throughout the United States.

Dr. Morrow hosts continuing education classes for new dentists so they can become proficient in dental basics like painless root canals and wisdom teeth removal. He is a clinical mentor for implant placements as well as advanced surgical techniques. Additionally, he directs an annual Aesthetic Continuum where his focus is on transforming smiles for the economically challenged community in the Phoenix area.

Dr. Morrow is passionate about the use of lasers in dental treatment and currently teaches a certification class as well as teaching for Biolase using a hard and soft tissue laser. Dr. Morrow is a Dental Examiner for the Western Regional Examination Board (WREB) and currently serves on the Arizona State Dental Board appointed by Governor Ducey and the Dental Exam Review Board (DERB).