Dr. Lori Trost

Interview with Dr. Lori Trost: The most impactful technologies for the restorative dental practice

June 5, 2024
Dr. Joshua Austin interviews Dr. Lori Trost, a restorative dentist in Red Bud, Illinois, about technological innovations that are most vital to her dental practice.

Dr. Lori Trost is a well-known restorative dentist in Red Bud, Illinois. She lectures around the country on the topics of restorative dentistry and removable prosthodontics. Her experience with all sorts of technological innovations prompted me to discuss the ones she considers most vital to her practice.

Dr. Austin: Dr. Trost, you and I have practiced throughout an incredibly turbulent era of technological advancement. What has been the most impactful technology for your dental practice?

Dr. Trost: Without a doubt, computer-aided design (CAD) and how it has digitized our procedures has had the greatest impact for my patients and my practice. Adopting and incorporating a digital workflow creates better outcomes and greater precision, along with immediate feedback that ultimately makes me a better dentist! Of course you need specific tools to aid the process as well.

Dr. Austin: Digital has been amazing for my practice as well. Tell me about some specific tools that aid the process for you.

Dr. Trost: On a daily basis, I rely heavily on my handpieces as well as a universal bonding agent. Almost every patient you treat requires a reliable handpiece, whether you are prepping, restoring, or polishing. As materials have evolved, so have handpieces—specifically electric handpieces. The power, control, and design have improved. I prefer the KaVo ELECTROmatic line because of performance and ergonomics.

Dr. Austin: Handpieces are key in every aspect of what we do. They literally touch every patient I see. I'm not sure how we managed before electric handpieces. There are so many options on the market. What things do you look for when choosing which electric handpieces to use in your practice?

Dr. Trost: Quality is foremost in my mind, because it equates to dependability and longevity. Without electric handpieces, we cannot work—plain and simple. Next, I consider how the electric handpiece is manufactured—the parts, construction, gears, and warranty.

I also look at how the handpiece performs clinically. Does it offer uniform power when cutting through various materials? Does that power offer me control around a margin? Am I able to modify the settings for the current procedure easily? What about the illumination and irrigation it provides? Throw in infection control management, and you quickly come to learn the demands and rigors placed on an electric handpiece.

As the operator, I want to use a tool that is balanced, has no cord pull, has excellent tactility, and is ergonomic in my hand. The electric handpiece must be responsive. And finally, don’t forget about the patient and their experience. I want to offer low noise, no bur chatter, and an easy procedure. All these elements matter in a successful restoration and minimal tooth trauma.

Clinicians need to understand that an electric hand piece is an investment.

Dr. Austin: Quality … I think that's the best place to start. We all have handpieces we like and handpieces we don’t. I don’t mind using a poorer-quality one for something easy like an occlusal resin on no. 3, but anything more than that and my team knows I want to use one of my favorite handpieces. My KaVo is definitely one of those favorites. The question I hear most is, “Is the quality and feel enough to justify the cost versus a cheap alternative?” What are your thoughts on that?

Dr. Trost: I have to agree about favorites! Routine restorations can be restored using a less robust handpiece, but when I am prepping multiple teeth, removing prior crowns—or even delivering a comprehensive case—I always want to use my favorite (the KaVo Master series electrics), both high and slow speed. The power and control are second to none.

Justifying the cost starts with experiencing how the electric handpiece performs. From what I know, most clinicians who want to perform at a higher level understand the benefits of electrics and improve their clinical skill by using them. I know that all of us are more mindful of costs, but traditional air-driven handpieces really last about a year at most (and that's probably with one replaced turbine). Over time, you can easily offset the cost when considering the speed, ease, reduced hand fatigue, and improved patient experience benefits.

For those clinicians who are looking into -“electrics,” I would suggest installing the handpieces on a trial basis. Most companies are willing to do this “test-drive” experience.

Dr. Austin: I absolutely agree. I think once docs who are currently using air-driven handpieces try an electric one, there's no turning back. Thank you, Dr. Trost! 

Editor's note: This article appeared in the June 2024 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.

About the Author

Joshua Austin, DDS, MAGD

Joshua Austin, DDS, MAGD, is a graduate and former faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Dentistry. Author of Dental Economics’ Pearls for Your Practice column, Dr. Austin lectures nationally on products, dental technology, online reputation management, and social media. He maintains a full-time restorative dentistry private practice in San Antonio, Texas. You may contact Dr. Austin at [email protected].

Updated June 21, 2023

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