We sat down with Jason Pang from Cosmic Smile Laser Dental, a dentistry service that promises not to drill you. One way or the other.
Hi Jason! Can you tell us briefly about yourself and your business?
I’m a Sydney University graduate and have been a dentist since 2002 and I run Cosmic Smile Dental in Neutral Bay on Sydney’s Lower North Shore. We do all general dentistry but also implant, cosmetic and sleep dentistry. I train dentists in the use of the laser and perform unique treatments with the laser. Three years ago, I rebranded as Cosmic Smile Laser Dental to better reflect the significant change the laser has to our business.
How did you get started in dentistry? Was it always what you wanted to do? How did you get into laser dentistry, specifically?
My father was a dentist – I worked with him for five years at the group dental practice he ran before venturing out on my own – and although I started in the sciences I decided to go back to uni to do dentistry. I enjoyed the stories that he used to tell about his patients and I knew that I could do the same. I started with lasers in 2009 after I was told of the benefits when I attended a small user group meeting. I bought a hard tissue dental laser soon after and trained in New Zealand with a laser dentist who has become my co-speaker whenever we train other dentists on how to use lasers. Personally, I have completed over 200 hours of laser training at the LAHA Institute in Slovenia and will be undertaking a Masters degree at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Roma next year.
Tell us how laser dentistry is different. What advantages does laser dentistry have over more traditional forms?
With lasers, there isn’t the distinctive whine of the drill, or the pressure, vibration and sound of the tooth being ground away. It is a gentle way of removing tooth structure layer by layer without causing cracking of the teeth. More importantly, it enables us to perform fillings in many causes without any anaesthetic or with very little anaesthetic. However, while lasers can do many of the things that dental drills can it is more about all the things that it can do that the drill can’t.
What are some of the things laser dentistry can treat?
Laser procedures that we do include:
- snoring treatment (for snorers, sleep-related breathing disorders and obstructive sleep apnoea)
- gum treatment- periodontal and implant
- fillings and desensitisation- often without anaesthetic
- single-visit root canal treatment
- abscesses and infections
- removal of lumps, bumps and dark lesions on lips and gums – ulcers, fibroma, haemangioma, moles, mucocele, cold sores (when tingling starts ideally)
- facial aesthetics – botox and laser reduction of wrinkles and lines/folds of the face, lip plumping and spider veins on the face
- tongue-ties and frenectomy in both babies and adults
- low-level laser therapy – trigeminal neuralgia, burning mouth syndrome, osteonecrosis of the jaw, TMJ related tinnitus,
As you can see, there is a huge range of services we provide- it’s not just laser fillings.
You also train other dentists in the use of laser technology. Tell us what you enjoy about teaching? Is lack of awareness/education the only thing stopping laser dentistry from becoming more mainstream?
Teaching is great because the people that attend are all paying clients, mostly dentists but sometimes doctors (for the NightLase portion) that are really keen to learn and soak up information like sponges.
Awareness and education is definitely a big part of it because firstly they must be aware of what the lasers can do and how they can enhance and complement the dentistry that they already offer. Then they have to learn how and when to do the procedures to create the best results. The best tools in the world are useless without the knowledge to effectively use them. This does require a commitment on their part to learn something completely different to anything they’ve done before and sometimes takes a complete paradigm shift in their thinking, which means that they have to have an open mind to the possibilities available. Those that are quite comfortable in the way that they practice and are very good at what they do often don’t want to re-learn how to do something better.
The other challenge would be the cost of the equipment. Some practitioners are averse to spending money on equipment and on education. Smaller diode lasers are comparatively cheap and have limited capabilities whereas the all-tissue lasers are feature-rich but are more expensive. For the business minded, they understand that it is not so much about the cost but the return-on-investment (ROI). By having equipment that gives you the option of doing more yourself and referring out less, the equipment becomes a device that makes the practice money by being available rather than a capital cost or another consumable item. I think that eventually, most practices will have a smaller diode laser because of the capabilities that it has but the larger lasers will only be for the most progressive and capable dentists that want to offer the best and widest range of services.
Settle an argument for us: do we really need to floss?
We have a saying that you only floss the teeth that you want to save. However, I know that many people don’t floss or don’t floss often and they have no problems. I believe that the healthier our bodies are and the less acidic that our mouth is that our saliva can help to protect our teeth more effectively. That means a good diet with nutrients that fortify our immune system. If you aren’t healthy and you’re eating a lot of sugary and acidic foods then I think it is important to floss.
Can laser dentistry really help cure snoring and sleep-related breathing disorders?
Absolutely! We have helped so many couples be able to sleep together in the same bed again. It is something that has been done overseas for more than five years but there are many different reasons for snoring and different degrees of SRBD. Studies show between 65-85% success rates for the right types of cases.
Anything else we should know about you and your business?
Even though we are a laser dental practice the focus of our business is really health and wellness. All our equipment and service choices are meant to complement each other to achieve greater health, like having ozonated water and gas to naturally eliminate bacteria, viruses and fungi. We have tooth serums that are better than toothpastes because they have food-grade ingredients and alkalise the mouth. We also have a range of lasers to target and eradicate bacteria, heat and rejuvenate tissues, stimulate healing of cells along with airway focused dentistry to allow patients to breathe better both day and night. Our aim is to create beautiful, healthy smiles with the highest level of patient care, creating outstanding value for our guests.