January 2015
Volume 36, Issue 1

Convergent Dental’s Solea™ CO2 Laser Effective for Both Hard- and Soft-Tissue Ablation

North Haven, CT, private practitioner David Fantarella, DMD, who has been using hard- and soft-tissue lasers since 2008, says the Solea™ CO2 laser from Convergent Dental, Inc.—the first CO2 laser system to be cleared by the FDA for hard- and soft-tissue ablation—is “by far” the best all-tissue laser he has ever used.

Fantarella, who holds a physics degree from Dartmouth, says, to some extent his desire to explore and leverage technology is “a personality trait,” but nonetheless maintains that lasers, in general, and Solea, in particular, enable dentists to get better outcomes with “less dentistry.”

“Lasers are very good at taking routine, traditional modalities in dentistry—from cavity preps to surgical excisions—and making them much faster, with less pain and better hemostasis and less patient morbidity,” Fantarella says. Further, he states, lasers are biostimulating and kill bacteria.

However, in his opinion, erbium lasers have not met the hopes and expectations of clinicians. Fantarella notes that they do not offer the speed needed to handle a significant number of procedures. Furthermore, their analgesic effect is unpredictable, making it necessary for the clinician to interrupt the procedure to anesthetize the patient before continuing with traditional methods. This, he suggests, results in extended chairtime and, sometimes, a loss of confidence by the patient.

Fantarella says Solea, a modified 9.3-micron CO2 laser, offers two significant advantages over erbium lasers: “Solea is able to vaporize enamel because its light energy is highly absorbed in hydroxyapatite and water. Secondly, the computer-controlled laser allows the dentist to use it much like a dental drill, varying the repetition rate using a foot pedal, or the beam spot size, from ¼ mm to 1 mm.” The ability to vary the spot size, he asserts, allows for tissue relaxation, enabling the dentist to efficiently perform ablation without anesthesia. “Because of Solea’s power and ability to cut any tissue from any angle, I am able to perform procedures that I would have never attempted with an erbium laser.”

Solea, he continues, can vaporize every tissue in the mouth—gingiva, bone, dentin, enamel, decayed dentin, and pulp—and can be used for Class 1 through 6 restorative procedures without the need for anesthetic. According to the company, Solea dentists report that they perform over 95% of their Solea procedures without anesthesia, and over 98% of those patients report no pain, with 100% preferring Solea to a drill.

“Often times, my preparations with Solea are completely drill-free, resulting in an entirely different experience for my patients,” Fantarella says, emphasizing that there is no vibration or loud noise with the laser.

The speed and precision of the Solea laser are results of patented technologies and computer system controls that are unique to Convergent Dental. The unit’s innovative technology is combined with familiar controls, so clinicians can easily transition from using the drill to using the Solea. Also, a simple touchscreen facilitates the operating process, as it allows Solea users to select the desired tissue(s) for optimal beam speed, precision, and patient comfort. During 4 years as a clinical advisor to Convergent Dental, including the launch of Solea, Fantarella has performed more than 6,000 procedures and is involved in training practitioners who receive a day’s worth of instruction when they purchase the system.

Based on research conducted about three decades ago at the University of California at San Francisco Dental School, Fantarella expects this computer-controlled laser technology to be applied to caries prevention. “Enamel is made up of carbonated hydroxyapatite, that, when decarbonated, is approximately 87% less likely to decay. Using this technology at low nonablative levels, this wavelength will decarbonate enamel and make it resistant to decay. It also has the ability to melt and fuse pits and fissures for caries prevention.”

Convergent Dental, Inc.
2 Vision Dr
Natick, MA 01760

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