March 2010, Volume 6, Issue 3
Published by AEGIS Communications
An Interview with AMD LASERS, LLC
Alan Miller, President/CEO
INSIDE DENTISTRY (ID): What do you see as the most significant changes in the oral healthcare arena over the past 5 to 10 years?
ALAN MILLER (AM): The way conditions are diagnosed and the technology to treat them. We are changing the standard of care in cutting and coagulating soft tissue. Because we’ve made lasers affordable for everyone, we can move dentistry out of the dark ages of cutting with scalpels and burning tissue with a hot piece of metal to stop bleeding. Lasers save time, they have an incredible ROI, and ultimately patients are the real winners with a substantial improvement in comfort and healing times. Less than a year ago, before the launch of Picasso, soft tissue lasers averaged over $13,000 in price. Today we are delivering a higher-quality laser for under $2,500. This extreme price reduction has resulted in a huge surge of dentists and hygienists getting into lasers.
ID: What areas of innovation are the company’s current focus?
AM: Our high-volume/low-cost product output, our level of customer support, and our packaging. I’ve always seen solution-based selling methods as the key to product success or failure. Our R&D took over 2 years before we even applied for the FDA clearance of Picasso. I wanted to make sure everything worked toward providing high-quality lasers to every office and every operatory. Dentists cannot believe how well our Picasso line of lasers is packaged. Even the shipping box is a work of art. The sheer number of high-quality accessories and free products and services we include translates into hearing every customer say, “Wow, this is incredible! I get all of this for under $2,500!” It’s such a great feeling to have our customers thank us on a daily basis.
ID: What do you see as your biggest responsibility to the marketplace, and why does your choice rank as your top priority?
AM: Our biggest responsibility as the new world leader in laser technology is education and support. We are a global company, and our Picasso line of soft tissue lasers is in over 50 countries. Our support staff speaks multiple languages and is made up of dentists and hygienists. This expertise and accessibility allow us to support our clients (and lots of other companies’ clients) with the instant assistance they need for any of their laser needs. Also, with tens of thousands of dentists getting into lasers to replace their electrosurges, we’re making sure our lasers are the easiest products in the world to operate. We started the International Center for Laser Education (ICLE) to offer world-class laser education, and it’s currently the only opportunity that offers forums and message boards, online video courses, seminars, clinical articles, billing and marketing information, hygiene support, and regional training facilities.
ID: Where do you see the future of laser technology going?
AM: We are researching and developing multiple new lasers with a focus on hard tissue. It’s incredible how manufacturers have almost doubled the price of their hard tissue lasers over the last 10 years. Within 2 years we should be providing a hard tissue laser for just one fifth the cost of what is on the market today. Lasers are the standard of care in every other aspect of medicine. Would you get any surgery on your eyes other than LASIK? The medical industry embraced laser technology and adapted it quickly. Within 10 years, the use of microcircuitry and nanotechnology will allow us to develop a single do-it-all device for a multitude of applications: hard tissue, soft tissue, curing, bleaching, perio treatment, oral cancer detection, and more.
ID: What do you see as the most popular applications of dental lasers?
AM:The focus has been on soft tissue surgery, decontamination, and low-level laser therapy. The most common surgeries are laser troughing in lieu of packing cord, smile enhancements through laser gingivectomies, laser biopsy, and laser tissue removal for exposing teeth, ortho brackets, and implants. Laser decontamination is mostly performed by hygienists in pockets but also is performed by dentists in root canals. Hygienists also laser-treat aphthous ulcers and herpetic lesions. Low-level laser therapy is very popular in most parts of the world and is just now being introduced domestically. There are three major advantages of using lasers: predictable tissue response due to the low area of necrosis; the ability to use on or near metal, in contrast to electrosurge; and the decontamination effects of using laser light energy. Patients are so much more comfortable post-operatively with lasers.
ID: How is your company helping to resolve the challenges facing dentistry and oral healthcare today?
AM: I think the only thing that ever has held up dentistry is the stigma attached to being a dentist. I think dentists need to be looked at as the heroes they really are. New studies concluding that disease starts in the mouth and can migrate and cause heart disease and stroke only reinforce that dentists should take the leadership role in diagnosis and treatment, preventing disease and stopping it before it becomes a medical problem. We have resolved the biggest issue in lasers—affordability. Now we can focus future efforts on educating the public that dentistry is laser-savvy and everyone can enjoy the benefits of this incredible technology.