The faster the better

Time is money. The faster you can accomplish your procedures (with equal or better quality), the more profitable your practice will become.

Louis Malcmacher, DDS

Overhead control is not just about saving money. It also is about saving time. Time is money. The faster you can accomplish your procedures (with equal or better quality), the more profitable your practice will become. We have seen this in the field of endodontics, where new instruments and techniques have made those procedures more time- and quality- efficient. Some incredible developments in time- savings efficiency also have been made in operative dentistry.

In the restorative realm, fast curing lights have been a boom in increasing our efficiency and also the quality of bonded composite-resin restorations. I have been involved in materials research for almost 21 years. During those years, we dreamed about the "zap" cure of composite resins — "What if we could put these restorations into the tooth and, zap, they would be instantly cured and we could start to finish them immediately?" Plasma arc lights have made that dream a reality. Instead of a 40 second per surface cure, you can now cure composite resins in three-to-five seconds.

Once you begin using a plasma arc light to cure composite resins, you will be constantly amazed at the amount of time you save. If you talk to dental professionals who use plasma arc lights for fast curing of composite resins, they will tell you that they would never go back to a regular curing light. It really is like having a cellular phone — once you get one and start using it, you can't possibly live without it!

If you don't think there is a difference between a 40-second cure and a three-second cure, count to 40 right now to give you an idea of how long 40 seconds really is. Multiply that by three-to-five times for the amount of surfaces that you need to cure on a tooth, and you will really see how long the entire curing process takes at 40 seconds per surface. Do the same thing with a three-second cure and you will be amazed at how this simple exercise will drive home the point of efficient, fast curing. Plasma arc lights such as the Virtuoso Sapphire Light by Denmat Corporation, Arc Light and Arc Light II M from Air Techniques Inc, Rapicure 2000 by Ultradent Products Inc., and PAC Light and Powerpac by American Dental Tech not only report fast curing, but also accomplish the deepest curing of composite resins of any other type of curing light on the market. Your restorations will cure faster, deeper, and more profoundly than ever before. This also can help eliminate post-operative sensitivity that may come from any uncured resin at the bottom of the preparation.

Imagine curing your composite resins in 10-to-15 seconds for all surfaces compared to one minute and 20 seconds to two minutes for the same procedures. Imagine curing 10 porcelain veneers in a minute and a half compared to 13 minutes. Imagine curing sealants on a squirming child in three seconds as opposed to 30-to-40 seconds per tooth. The increase in speed and depth of cure is truly amazing and will help you become more efficient and productive.

Overhead control is not only about saving money, but also saving time. To keep the overhead down in our office, we always look to invest in anything that will save us time as it directly relates to saving our practice money. Fast curing lights pay for themselves quickly. Once you start using them, there is no going back!

Dr. Louis Malcmacher is an international lecturer and author, known for his comprehensive and entertaining style.An evaluator for Clinical Research Associates, Dr. Malcmacher is a consultant to the Council on Dental Practice of the ADA. For close to two decades, Dr. Malcmacher has inspired his audiences to truly enjoy practicing dentistry by providing the knowledge necessary for excellent clinical and practice-management skills. His group dental practice has maintained a 45 percent overhead since 1988.For details about his speaking schedule, Dr. Malcmacher can be reached at (440) 892-1810 or via email at dryowza@iname.com.

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