Interview: Laser Dentistry-An Indian Perspective
Dr Kirpa Johar has done his masters programme in laser dentistry from Vienna University. He heads an exclusive private practise in Bangalore, where he uses both soft and hard tissue lasers in his routine practise. He has spoken in various National level conferences on Laser Dentistry and at various CDE programs at various dental colleges and dental associations across India. He is one of the pioneer in the field of laser dentistry in India. He is the director of Laser Dentistry Research & Review (LDRR), an academy for quality laser dental education. Dr Kipra Johar is the author of the textbook "Fundamentals of Laser Dentistry", a book written and conceptualized with the aim to make the study of laser assisted dentistry both exciting and easy to understand for dental professionals. He has also authored a chapter "Lasers in Dentistry" in the textbook of Photo Medicine published by Harvard Medical School, U.S.A. Dr Kirpa Johar is a certified trainer from the DALE CARNEGIE TRAINING INSTITUTE.
DT SEA :Dr.Kripa thank you for consenting to speak to DT India about your experiences in the field of Laser Dentistry. Tell us how it all started
Dr.Kripa Johar: After my masters certification in laser dentistry from Vienna, I started my laser dentistry practice in 2006 in Bangalore, Karnataka. When I decided to start my practice, laser dentistry was an unknown and undiscovered mode of treatment. Moreover there was no more than one or two dealer for the diode laser and erbium lasers. It was a difficult beginning of creating awareness for both dentists and patients alike but ten years later I can finally say it was a fruitful journey.
Laser is the buzz word today in dentistry. How has its advent benefitted clinicians and patients?
Laser dentistry I believe is beneficial to everyone. For clinicians it has opened up treatments that were not possible before. It has also provided them with a tool that now provides for a more advanced and better form of dentistry. Dental lasers are commonly used for soft-tissue applications, including surgical, cosmetic and endodontic sterilization. As lasers allow surgical procedures on soft tissue to be performed with no sutures and less anaesthesia.They are increasingly used in oral surgical and mucogingival procedures.
A laser, is the most versatile instrument there is dentistry today. Besides mucogingival procedures, periodontal treatment has gained most from the use of laser technology. More patients are definitely motivated to undergo various periodontal procedures done with lasers compared with conventional surgery. Release of tongue-tie in infants, gingivectomies and operculectomies are some of the procedures that are simplified with laser.
Treatments provided by laser are less invasive than conventional approach of using a scalpel. It provides for better infection control due to its bacteriocidal effect. It is more painless, highly advanced and causes much less damage to the tissues. Laser Dentistry leads to lesser complications lesser operative fatigues when used correctly.
Do you think the cost involved in owning a Laser has been a deterrent in its acceptance?
I think the most common misconception still is that laser dentistry is for the elite and that that it will not work in the practice owing to the cost–benefit ratio. However, more dentists have recently begun to realize that lasers can improve their patient experience and help them add more procedures to the practice, which in turn makes it more profitable and rewarding. Awareness among the dental community however has improved and the market is growing rapidly.
However, cost still plays an important role in the acquisition of the technology, particularly when it comes to hard-tissue lasers. But with growing times I can see how cost as a factor would reduce as the returns over a period of time is much higher.
The spectrum of procedures that can be treated with a laser is astounding. For our patients lasers offer lesser pain, better healing, lesser post-operative discomfort, absence of sutures, relatively bloodless field, minimally invasive and most important of all eliminates the fear of the scalpel and the dental drill .It is to be noted that laser dentistry is an adjunct to conventional dentistry and by no way a replacement. It only betters the treatment received and provided for to our patients.
What kind of training does one have to go through to incorporate lasers in their practice?
The most important aspect in using a laser is the proper training and education and the need of the hour is unbiased quality laser dentistry education.
Tell us about your academy.
My academy Laser dentistry research and review (LDRR) has been working on imparting education in the field of Lasers for the past five years. Laser Dentistry Research and Review, based out of Bengaluru, India conducts a five day certified course, three times a year. Practicing dentists and students from all over the globe come to educate themselves on the use of lasers.
The possibilities are endless when one starts working with a laser. Dentists need to understand that with the use of dental lasers they would be providing better dentistry to their patients and would make their own work more comfortable, which would in turn lead to happier patients, more referrals, and the subsequent overall growth of their practice.
We are also introducing the American board of laser surgery courses in India, starting from early of 2017. On completion of this course Dentists can become a diplomat of the American board of laser surgery, right here in India. We hope to become a centre in Asia known for helping dentists receive the best in laser dental education and add value to their practice.
A laser in every clinic in India then!
Absolutely. We as a community are moving towards a minimally invasive and more conservative form of dentistry. Lasers largely help in reducing this gap.
Over the next decade we will see every dental clinic in India having a diode laser in their practice. The progress can’t be stymied as on the one hand patients want less pain, lesser invasive procedures and better treatments owing to growing awareness and the other is that for clinicians diode lasers have become more affordable and are available on the market in much larger variety. Interestingly just by the addition of a simple Diode laser into a dental clinic, a whole lot of procedures can be added to a clinical practice, benefiting both the patient and the dentist. We now also have Indian dental laser manufactures providing lasers for the Indian market at competitive pricing, which is a very promising trend for the growth of laser dentistry in India.
So, the Future is bright for laser dentistry !
Laser dentistry definitely changes the way we practice dentistry and I am excited is too see us slowly but steadily moving towards this more advanced form of dentistry being practiced in India !