Rana Al-Falaki has been on the UK specialist list in periodontics for over ten years. She has worked in the hospital system helping with the undergraduate and postgraduate tuition, and as an associate specialist. She was the first UK periodontist to use lasers in her daily practice. She is conducting research on its applications and lectures both in the UK and internationally on the subject, pioneering its use in this field.
The use of lasers in the field of Periodontology has revolutionised our practice in the past five years. When I first started out as the first periodontist in the UK to use a hard and soft tissue laser, I was nervous, to say the least, and refused to believe all that had been promised. However, in the past five years, those promises have all come true and so much more!
Improved clinical results in London
Research indicated that the Waterlase was as effective if not better in the management of periodontitis and standard subgingival scaling. My own research has supported this – we have found greater pocket depth reductions, with less recession, greater clinical attachment level gain, greater reduction in bleeding on probing and longer-term stability. Also, post-operatively patients tend to have less pain and sensitivity.
Reduced need for surgery
Now I consider a challenging deep pocket to be 10mm, rather than 6mm! This is because we have seen much greater success is deeper sites and also in sites where we would previously have had to consider carrying out surgery – so better results in posterior teeth, furcations, deep pockets of 10mm+, perio-endo lesions and infrabony defects.
My bone grafting material that I always had stored in the fridge expired because I don’t need to use it now I have a laser!
We have had over 90% success in the management of infrabony defects, showing bone fill radiographically along with pocket resolution, all done using a minimally invasive flapless technique, with no need for regenerative materials. Find out more.
I’m involved in researching this specifically and surely it will revolutionise the world of periodontics in future years!
The results for the management of peri-implantitis have been extraordinary – the vast majority of cases respond to treatment with a flapless technique and our research shows stability over two years so far. When you do need to raise a flap, the laser will do it all for you – raising the flap, removing the granulation tissue, decontaminating the implant surface, removing biofilm, and decontaminating the inside of the flap.
Of course, there may be times when I decide to use some type of bone augmentation procedure alongside it. The results have been predictably good and taken the headache away.
We use our Waterlase in every surgical procedure we do to some extent – but surgery is no longer a scary word in the practice. It’s faster and our patients experience far less post-operative pain and discomfort, with little need for analgesics or antibiotics afterwards.
Also, the range of surgical procedures is huge – from simple gingivectomies, gingivoplasty, frenectomies, vestibular deepening, orthodontic tooth exposures, implant exposures, flapless crown lengthening with bone removal, to more complex surgery such as bone harvesting for implants, sinus lifts, root coverage and grafting procedures and reverse vestiuloplasty for gummy smiles. Not only do I find myself able to do more, but each procedure is less stressful – for reasons of patient comfort, speed, clearer access, better visibility – the list goes on.
More patients believe in lasers!
They are used so commonly now in other areas of healthcare, and so often patients come to us because we have lasers. They believe they will receive better care, get better results and consider us to be modern and up to date because we use them. They trust us and then having had a positive experience, they tell their friends and so it goes on. Patients find us because of how we treat periodontal problems. Read more.
I get such a buzz every day when our patients come back for their reassessments and the results are outstanding – results that I know I never would have achieved through conventional non-surgical treatment a few years ago and certainly not in just a two-month healing period.
Time and time again, my nurse and I will look at each other while working on a patient and quietly acknowledge to each other how much more fun and challenging our work is with the use of lasers as part of our daily practice. Work has to be fun and you have to feel you’re helping people – and we do!!