An Interview with: Zap Lasers
Inside Dentistry (ID): The dental laser industry has been changing within the past 5 to 10 years. What do you see as the most significant of those changes?
Robin Duysen (RD): The most significant, positive change has been an increasing acceptance of the soft-tissue lasers as a standard of dental care in the field of dentistry. Laser dentistry is less invasive, with better, faster results and less pain than traditional dentistry. Despite these benefits, lasers, by definition, can be intimidating to dentists and patients. At Zap, we have always aimed to demystify the concept of lasers, specifically soft tissue lasers, and bring their great benefits to the mass market. As a long-term player in the laser market, Zap has consistently invested significant resources in developing easy-to-use, portable, cost-effective laser products. We also support this objective with our marketing, leveraging our expertise in education, mentoring, and practical knowledge of soft-tissue lasers to acclimate new and potential customers to the use of soft-tissue dental lasers in the office. And, we are proud that with last year’s introduction of the Styla MicroLaser, the world’s first and only completely wireless, hand-held soft-tissue laser, Zap elevated the terms “easy to use” and “portable” to a new level, and further catapulted laser acceptance in the dental community.
ID: In what ways—both internally and in dealing with the broader oral healthcare marketplace—has your company responded to these changes?
RD: For 10 years Zap has evolved and adapted to maintain its position as the market’s innovative soft-tissue laser leader and promoter of laser acceptance and adoption. Most dentists have an all too common story about the “bargain deal” purchase of dental equipment that sits unused, collecting dust in the closet; we have worked hard to ensure dentists do not have that experience with our lasers. Our goal is to facilitate the successful implementation of lasers into the field of dentistry, one unit at a time.
We believe lasers must be seen as a value/benefit technology. At Zap, we understand that dentists can only understand the value and benefit of laser technology through successful implementation and use. This value is all-encompassing, including quality, support, price, customer service, and long-term commitment, and we have grown to dedicate resources to each of these factors.
ID: What do you see as your biggest responsibility to the marketplace, and why does your choice rank as your first priority?
RD: Our first priority continues to be the beneficial advancement and adoption of soft-tissue lasers in dentistry. We specifically mention “beneficial” to emphasize that we see ourselves as partners to the dental community and seek to create mutually beneficial and successful relationships between Zap, dentists, and patients—now, and in the future.
In the “new” field of soft-tissue dental lasers, we have a relatively long history, celebrating our 10th anniversary this year. We attribute our success and longevity to the fact that we remain focused on the fundamentals of quality, innovation, customer service, and consistent improvement. We seek interactive dialogue and feedback from end-users and the marketplace, and use the ideas generated from these efforts to help drive new product features and innovative technology that meets dentists’ and patient needs. Whether citing the first portable desktop unit, an easy-to-use touch-screen unit devoted specifically to orthodontics, or the Styla MicroLaser, the world’s first and only true hand-held laser, we proudly point to our track record of innovation over the years to demonstrate this point. And knowing that innovation is one of Zap’s major strengths, we continue to fulfill our responsibility to the marketplace by developing new and improved laser technology products to facilitate improved dental care.
ID: What product categories—whether preventive, restorative, operative, auxiliary, diagnostic, etc—do you feel are most in need of innovation based on what’s currently available?
RD: Like the old adage comparing the relative value/benefit of prevention over cure, we believe that the category of preventative dental care provides the most significant opportunity for the future of dentistry. Laser treatment and technology are especially effective in this area and, with our emphasis on leveraging Zap’s innovation and design expertise to develop effective, beneficial products that support and augment efforts for preventative dental care, periodontics presents great opportunities.
That said, there are also many uses and benefits for soft-tissue lasers in the category of restorative dentistry. Some of the most common soft-tissue laser procedures performed in offices today are laser troughing, frenectomy, and gingivectomy. With this standard of care already in existence, we believe there is a market to provide dentists innovations that will allow them to give patients better care and results and grow this category as well.
ID: What do you see as the best approach to the research, development, testing, and ultimate delivery to the market of such needed advancements?
RD: The entire field of dentistry is advancing in the area of preventative care. At Zap, we identify our role in this movement as focusing on our core competencies—the innovation and design of beneficial and effective laser products for the dental community—to help advance the market. As demonstrated by the introduction of Styla, we are extremely comfortable with the research, development, testing, and launch of new products, as well as the exploration of new frontiers. With this experience and expertise as our base, Zap’s mission is to innovate, not just replicate, and further differentiate ourselves as a market leader. We are excited about the future opportunities using lasers in the field of dentistry, and as usual, our approach will be to explore all of the possibilities, be they traditional or unconventional, in support of developing exciting, beneficial advancements for the field.
ID: There are many challenges facing dentistry and oral healthcare today. How is your company helping to resolve them?
RD: There can be no argument that today’s dental professionals are faced with a multitude of challenges—economic uncertainty, changing technologies, and a more sophisticated/demanding patient base, just to name a few. Even the increased popularity of soft-tissue lasers introduces questions; first-time laser buyers are confronted with intimidating decision-making factors like functionality, portability, wavelength, power levels, technology, and brand name reliability.
As long-time designers and manufacturers of soft-tissue laser systems, we at Zap have a keen understanding of soft-tissue laser products, capabilities, support, and limitations. We are moving the industry forward by being a trusted partner and resource. Working with Zap, dental professionals enter the laser market secure in the knowledge that they are partnering with knowledgeable industry leaders and will use their laser, reaping the benefits of laser dentistry, without jeopardizing any more closet space.