The IALD (Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry) trains hundreds of dentists year in and year out, and one of our hallmarks is the live-patient training we offer. But a little-known by-product of offering this hands-on learning experience is that we have treated hundreds of patients over the years as a part of the program too, all at no cost to them! Yep, we can’t offer hands-on learning without real people in the dental chairs receiving the treatment.
In each of our training centers, in Denver, CO, Buffalo, NY, and our headquarters office in Cerritos, CA, hands-on training just isn’t possible without the recruitment and participation of people like you and me, willing to sit in the dental chair while the LANAP procedure is performed in a training environment. The treatment is the same procedure performed in dental offices across the country, with the one exception that the certified instructor present is explaining each component of the procedure as the surgery is performed for to up to three attendees – so it does take a little longer. It’s not often that patients get all of the attention from four experienced dentists, but in our training clinics, that’s the norm!
Each training doctor actually sees three total patients in the course of their training continuum with us – one in their initial Laser BootCamp, a second at his or her six-month follow-up Evolution 4, and a third patient at his or her 12-month follow-up Evolution 5. That’s a lot of patients! And considering that we provide follow-up care to every patient for a full year after their initial surgery, our clinics are always full and assistants are always on their toes, tracking every patient through our program.
To coordinate all of this ongoing care, we employ two full-time clinical coordinators to handle all components of the program: the patient screenings, the x-rays, the charts, and the scheduling of both the initial surgery treatments plus the many follow-up visits. We follow all of the same confidentiality practices of regular dental clinics, and all of the emergency preparedness requirements, too. Even though we are providing free care to our patients, we are also providing a clinic environment consistent with what you would find at your own dentist’s office.
Millions of Dollars of Community Service
From the patient’s perspective, it’s a win-win. There are no out-of-pocket costs, and their gum disease is addressed and reversed. Yes, participation requires a series of visits: first, a screening visit, to verify that the patient is qualified for the program; second, a visit to an external facility for a full complement of x-rays (which are sent back to our clinic and Instructors for evaluation); next, two separate visits for the LANAP surgery itself – one side of the mouth in one training session, and the other side of the mouth the next, usually about a month apart; then, there are four post-op cleaning visits every three months up to the one-year mark. This is to make sure everything is looking good for optimal healing.
In total, over 900 patients have been treated – all at no charge to them – since the IALD’s inception. Often, these patients are uninsured or underinsured and cannot afford treatment on their own. Thanks to our training program, these individuals now have a fighting chance to save their teeth and help guard against other systemic diseases linked to gum disease, such as diabetes, stroke, and certain types of cancer. If you total up the retail cost of the dentistry we’ve provided, that’s over $4.5 million in free dental care, all provided to the communities in which we serve.
This community service we provide hasn’t gone unnoticed. In January 2011, the IALD was recognized by the City of Cerritos through its Business Recognition Program, and was issued a proclamation acknowledging the free dentistry we provide month in and month out at no cost to the patient, the public, or the community. We are proud to support our community, but even more proud to treat even more patients than all of our trained doctors are treating on their own.
Patients Travel from Near and Far
If the state of one’s gum disease qualifies for our program, we’ll start treatment for patients from down the street or across the country, provided they can commit to all required appointments.
For example, patient D.O. lives in Stamford, CT. He called the IALD asking for information about the LANAP protocol and in the course of the conversation got to talking about the clinic here in Cerritos – 2,800 miles away from where he lives. After learning about our program, he made the unprecedented decision to fly out to California to be our training patient, and has since returned for his first two regular cleanings as well. He routinely lets us know how grateful he is for the experience, opportunity, and ability to be a patient in our clinic on a regular basis.
On the other hand, patient S.L. was the uncle-in-law of one of our employees. Over the holidays, they were discussing our employee’s job, and in that conversation, mentioned that his sister had traditional gum disease cut-and-sew surgery and never went back for the second half of treatment! She was terrified because of the pain associated with the surgery. After telling him how LANAP is much more patient friendly, with quicker recovery time, he came in for a screening. Next thing you know, he qualified, and is currently in our training patient program. And because of his positive experience, his wife will be coming in for a screening next month!
You Could Be Our Next Patient!
We are always in need of more patients willing to participate in our training program, and sometimes we get creative in finding eligible individuals. We regularly post in community bulletin boards, take out newspaper advertisements, online postings, and even friends and family of staff members. If we are setting up a clinic in a new area, as we did last year in Buffalo, NY, we might speak with area dental offices for referrals, or even post in the break rooms of local hotels, restaurants, and casinos, to get the word out to their employees that free gum disease treatment may be available to them.
Have you or anyone you know been told you have gum disease? We are always looking for training patients at our Cerritos, Denver, and Buffalo training centers. To find out more, and to schedule a screening appointment, just call 562-207-4845 and speak with one of our clinical coordinators. We could be seeing YOU in the chair next!