clinician spotlight

"Mor" Smiles: My Experience Providing Five Years of Injection-Free Restorations

By Dr. Josh Morales

My Mission

I have fully incorporated the Waterlase iPlus All-Tissue laser in my practice, Mor Smiles 4 Kids, for the last five years and it’s become key in our mission to provide the best standard of care for our young patients.

As a pediatric dentist, my goal is to treat each patient as though they were my own children, providing them with a safe and caring environment where they can grow up without fear of the dentist. I consider it a privilege to guide children on their journey to excellent oral health in an anxiety-free environment by offering a positive dental experience and tailoring treatment to each child by prioritizing their individual medical and emotional needs.

Injection-Free Restorations

As someone who must consider the experience and feelings of the youngest patients, I often try to put myself in their shoes. New places can be scary for young children, so we try our best to make the office fun and welcoming. Strangers can be equally scary, so I try my best to create rapport and be friendly. This might seem obvious to pediatric dentists – but so is operating with the latest in patient-friendly technology, in my opinion. If there is a new mode of operation that children can receive that is more efficient and more patient-friendly, one that doesn’t require children to get painful injections or have the strange sensation of numbing, aren’t we obligated as providers to use the best methods possible? It seemed like a no-brainer to me, and after learning about Waterlase’s patient-friendly and precise ablation of caries and hard tissue I was hooked. I have been providing injection-free procedures for the last five years- and the benefits are seen everywhere in my practice.

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Time Management

Like all professionals, sometimes we can get so used to our routines.  Then when a new paradigm comes around, it can be hard to imagine an improvement on the existing methods. For me, an unexpected benefit, which I did not initially think was going to be significant, was the time savings and efficiency of not having to inject. We’ve all had those cases where the patient puts up a fight and we must call in reinforcements from parents and other team members to help calm the patient down. You get the shot in, and they still are feeling it, and now you have the stress compounded by multiple shots. Those days used to be so stressful for both the doctor and the patient, and I wish I could calculate all the time I used to spend on injections and subsequent adjustments.

Providing injection-free restorations saves me a ton of time in not only happier patients, but in the set-up, purchasing, and supply management of anesthetics, and after-care instructions. Not having to wait for a local anesthetic to take effect is a very under-looked benefit, one that I can now see in my own practice. When you add up the time savings from all your patients in just one day, it’s quite significant.

Not only do I have shorter appointments, which means convenience for my patients and parents, but I get improved office efficiency which allows me to see more patients in a day. This isn’t even considering the incredible ability to do multi-quadrant treatments. Nowadays I’m able to complete more restorations in one appointment, thanks to time savings, increased efficiency, and better patient cooperation.

A Child’s Smile Says It All

The reactions that I get from my patients have been amazing. As a board-certified pediatric dentist, I have come to understand that there are many hurdles to overcome while providing care for children. One of the biggest hurdles is if the child is able to tolerate the numb feeling. With Waterlase, I don’t have to cross that hurdle when completing a filling procedure.

Lasers have enhanced my clinical results, but the real benefit to me is the patient results. Yes, I can do more restorative treatments, but what really impacts me at the end of the day is that kids love the Waterlase! They view lasers as a high-tech exciting treatment option – even for the ones that get nervous at first, once I explain how gentle it is I rarely have any problems.

Mor Smiles 4 Kids - Laser Dentistry

Waterlase has also been enormously helpful when treating patients who have trouble being calm and still for long periods of time. We have found that our Waterlase treatments are quicker and typically less painful, and most people enjoy that it does not have the buzzing sound of drills for those with dental anxiety.

The kids think the “popcorn” noise is funny, and the parents are thankful for the quick and painless treatment that their children receive. I can’t tell you how many parents have told me they wish they could be a patient at my office so they could avoid shots for dental work.

Another huge benefit to being able to complete restorations without local anesthetic is the risk of post-anesthetic masticatory trauma (lip/cheek biting) – that risk is practically eliminated.

Mor Smiles 4 Kids - Laser Dentistry

Five Years Later

Going to the dentist can be a stressful experience for children. At my practice, BIOLASE dental lasers are working every day to help my young patients reduce anxiety and reduce procedure time while making them feel more relaxed from not having to get shots.

For those who are often intimidated by loud noises, and hypersensitive to pain – the Waterlase is less jarring, noisy, and less invasive. Amazingly, it is so incredibly precise, only removing microns of tissue at a time, dependent on your settings. You can really dial this thing in and get exactly the depth of ablation you want.

I love making the dental experience for a child fun and exciting, and approachable. Using terms like “butterflies buzzing” or “popcorn popping” when using my Waterlase laser makes it fun for them and for us.  Patients leave happy, with full function of their mouth – they are not numb and can even go back to eating and back to school on the same day! Parents can often get all their child’s procedures done in one appointment, which as a parent myself, I appreciate. In my community, not everyone has the luxury of being able to take all the time off they need so this really helps me serve my community’s needs.

Worth the Investment

Waterlase has allowed me to bring to life my treatment philosophy and I’ll never go back to using my old conventional methods. Patients and parents alike are happier with our minimally invasive laser treatments, and my practice feels invigorated, along with my entire dental care team. With this laser technology, my practice is being differentiated from the offices down the street, and the word-of-mouth referrals have long paid off the cost of the laser.

If you are like me and care about maximizing patient care, it really is a no-brainer to invest in the most advanced technology on the market for your practice and patients.

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!

About Josh Morales, DDS

My dream to pursue a career in dentistry began as a young child in Dallas, where I grew up. I looked up to my pediatric dentist as a role model and admired how he inspired his patients. At 15 years old, I began working in his office over the summer sterilizing instruments and cleaning dental operatories. I learned many valuable lessons during this time, and further established plans to bring my dream to fruition.

Over the next decade, with this goal in mind, I graduated from the University of North Texas with high honors; Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry; and the highly respected pediatric dental residency at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Following residency, I ventured back to my native Texan roots and settled with my family in North Houston, where I opened Mor Smiles 4 Kids and have been helping children smile ever since. 

As a pediatric dentist, I wake up every day and truly enjoy my work. I consider it a privilege to guide children on the journey of excellent oral health in an anxiety-free environment. I take pride in offering my patients positive dental experiences; tailoring treatment to each child by prioritizing their individual medical and emotional needs.