December 5, 2022
Mohamed Hakim, DDS
Marty Klein: Welcome to Dentistry for the New Millennium. I’m Marty Klein, training manager at the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry. My guest today is Dr. Mohamed Hakim, a general dentist in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Hakim earned his first dental degree in Chiro Egypt, and later, once again at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, where he graduated with awards from the faculty recognizing his talents in public health and emergency care. He’s been a LANAP-trained clinician since June, 2021. Dr. Hakim, thanks for joining me today.
Mohamed Hakim: Hi. Thank you for having me.
Marty Klein: So let’s start with how you first heard about LANAP and the PerioLase and what interested you so much about it.
Mohamed Hakim: So I initially, my first exposure to LANAP was back when I was living in New York City with a periodontist whom I respect and admire and have learned so much from. I had seen initially what his results were and how he was applying LANAP to his patients and the outcomes that he was getting. As somebody who hadn’t gone through dental school in the American system and kind of seeing it firsthand was really, really interesting for me. It was big proof of concept. You know, there’s a lot of materials, there’s a lot of different protocols and things that come out every other day that talk about, we can do this, we can do this, we can do this. But to see the results, to see it applied, to see the patients afterwards, how they were recovering, how they were feeling, it just actualized the whole thing for me. So I knew after working with him that after I would graduate from dental school here, this was something I wanted to pursue. This was something that I was interested in learning more about and, being trained in and being able to bring to my patients.
Marty Klein: Now I understand you went ahead with training pretty much right after you graduated. So what exactly compelled you to do this right away and make it a priority?
Mohamed Hakim: Right after graduation was a really good time to do it, mostly because a lot of the specific information regarding like physiology and the body’s reaction and different things was, still kind of fresh in my mind. You know, a couple years out of school, sometimes you forget some things, and so the more capacity you have, you can reference this information. With what you have most you can make of it really. So after I graduated, I did BootCamp and had a lot of this information still fresh in my head, and so I was able to learn a lot of different things that were relevant to what I had learned in school and tie them together in a way that I’ve been able to creatively utilize this laser and help my patients in a way that many of my colleagues may not be able to.
Marty Klein: So if you weren’t familiar with laser dentistry in school, tell me a little more about the differences between hand instrumentation that you were used to and laser tissue interaction that you learned later. Maybe how it’s different for you as the clinician and how it comes across differently for your patients.
Mohamed Hakim: So I think there’s a pretty dramatic difference between just using your conventional physical instrumentation versus utilizing the light instrumentation. I would start by saying that philosophically there is, there’s an element to it that as, as a clinician and you know, to patients when you speak to them about it, being able to say, I’m using your body’s own ability to help regenerate these tissues that have been lost over a period of time, I think that means a lot to the patient. And it means a lot to me as a clinician. And I feel that using the light and the laser optimizes your outcomes, right? Like, if there is an opportunity that this can, let’s not even say significantly but moderately improve your outcomes, improve your patient’s experience, improve the result of the work that you have done, and improve on the investment that the patient has made, not just in their healthcare, but in you. That’s something that’s, that’s worth talking about. It’s something worth putting in your arsenal, your armamentarium and utilizing. So we’ll talk about the science behind that for a second. We know that conventional scaling and root planning and cleanings with the Piezo and the Cavitron and the hand instruments, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, do not necessarily regenerate tissues you have or periodontal tissues. You get long junctional epithelium utilizing that. And so with the LANAP protocol, you’re able to regenerate periodontal tissue, what else can do that? Right? So again, it ties back to the whole philosophy of things like, do I want to do something that is adequate or do I want to do something that’s fantastic? And, you know, a lot of patients that come to you who are in need of LANAP need LANAP. You know, they’re not coming to you. This isn’t like a cosmetic or an adjunct procedure. These are people that have been told, Hey, you need to lose all your teeth, or you need to lose a certain amount of teeth, and maybe then we can stabilize your situation. Being able to leverage that as an intermediate step between losing your teeth and not losing your teeth is oftentimes, you know, in the concept of hope. Right? It’s useful. It’s great.
Marty Klein: Now, I know minimally invasive dentistry is important to you or has become important to you. What are some of the patient benefits you’ve observed in being able to offer LANAP as a minimally invasive surgical treatment?
Mohamed Hakim: We’re in an age right now where, you know, a lot of people say sometimes the best type of dentistry is no dentistry. You know, maybe in periodontal disease we can’t do that, but what we can do is apply these minimally invasive approaches for maximally optimal outcomes. So, you know, you can get, you know, in worst case scenario, a similar outcome to conventional cut and stitch surgery, but without the cut and stitch. Best case scenario, a much better outcome than cut and stitch, a much better patient experience, and a much better just overall quality of life for your patient. And for me, one of the things I think is really, really cool about this too is, you know, I always want my patients to be proud of me and proud of the things that I do, and like being able to be a problem solver. So I know, or I hope that like when my patients leave, they’re like, oh man, my doctor has this laser, dude, it’s crazy. Like, you won’t believe what they do with that, as opposed to saying like, oh yeah, my doctor, he’s got a scalpel and he does this and he does that. The implementation of technology is in and of itself a very valuable thing to have in your practice.
Marty Klein: I’d like to go back to the part about choosing to offer LANAP right out of school, because obviously it can be quite an investment in your practice, at least financially. Take me through your thought process of why you felt this investment in your practice and your patients was worth it, or maybe how it’s proved to be worth it.
Mohamed Hakim: One of the things people always tell me is that the best marketing for dentists and healthcare in general is word of mouth. And word of mouth means doing things that are worth talking about. And, you know, if everybody on the street does cut and stitch surgery and there’s one guy who does lasers, you know, who everybody on the street is going to be talking about and they’re talking about you, right? So as far as, you know, promoting what I hope to be a practice one day, I want to be unique and I want to be able to provide the best care that is available, that is studied, that is tested, that is proven. It is a lot, you know, for a fresh student to kind of front load as far as like the finances are concerned, but your ROI isn’t in that you’re going to just make a ridiculous amount of money right away. What you’re doing is establishing the patient base, establishing a name, and ultimately, this money comes back to you, it comes back to you in the patients that you see either for the procedure itself, which, you know, there’s a certain amount that you can do where it will pay for itself possibly within the first year or two. And that’s only LANAP. You know, the laser has a lot of other applications that it’s absurd. Like there’s so many different things that you can use it for that are not specifically LANAP.
Marty Klein: So it’s hard to argue that LANAP is now part of the standard of care for the treatment of gum disease, or at least it must be a part of informed consent. Among the options that are out there, it’s really not enough to just get by with “supervised neglect,” as I’ve heard it referred to, without informing patients of their options. I mean, so first maybe explain what “supervised neglect” is from your perspective and maybe why it’s so important for patients to know all of their treatment options.
Mohamed Hakim: Supervised neglect is when, you know, a clinician recognizes an issue and really doesn’t do anything about it. They just kind of watch things collapse. The idea, that I really like as far as LANAP is, even if you are not a clinician who does LANAP or provides a LANAP service in the same way that if you’re a general dentist and somebody is missing a tooth, and instead of saying, I can refer you to an oral surgeon or a periodontist and have them place an implant for you, insisting that a bridge is the only way to go. So LANAP now, in 2022, has been a studied and debated and a proven procedure and protocol. And so even if you do not provide this to your patients, it is in many respects incumbent upon you to mention it. At least, you know, before a patient loses a tooth or teeth or you know, everything, it’s your responsibility to tell them about these, about this procedure, about what is possible, not what only you can do, but what is out there. So believe in it, don’t believe in it, it has a history, it has research and give somebody a chance to choose for themselves, without withholding information about a procedure like this. You know, if I weren’t a dentist and I was in the unfortunate situation of having to decide whether or not I lose my teeth, and my doctor is like, oh yeah, no, you have to pull all your teeth and, we’re going to make some dentures and they’re not going to fit fantastic for the first few months, but you’ll get over it…and that whole speech that we give them…and two months into it, I’m sitting on Google and I read about, you know, here’s an alternative therapy here is a different possibility, a different outcome, I’d be pretty upset!
Marty Klein: How have you found that adding LANAP has helped in your practice growth? Or I guess in other words, do you think adding LANAP has helped lead to anything else in terms of growing your practice?
Mohamed Hakim: I do. It leads to several different things. We’ll start with the fact that when you advertise for a LANAP procedure, it’s likely that your first LANAP patient is not a patient that’s already inside of your practice. This is your advertising or promoting or advocating for a procedure and somebody is looking for this procedure. They’re not somebody who is routinely getting care. They’re not somebody who is, you know, been consistent with their dental visits. And so what you’re doing from the get go is attracting a brand new patient, okay, you build a relationship with this patient and one patient alone can provide a lot of revenue for a practice. There’s a lot of different ways that this can be applied in, in helping to grow a practice. The other thing that I’ll say, implants becoming such a growing and accessible field for a lot of people, a way more than it was many, many years ago.
Whether it was finances or just accessibility to that particular kind of care or technology, yada, yada. As a practice owner, I would really like to be able to stand by my work. And so if I have an implant or if I see a patient who comes with an implant that’s not necessarily doing fantastic, I’d say, Hey, we have a LAPIP procedure here, which can help improve the quality of the situation that you’re in right now and avoid perhaps having to remove this implant with some of the bone around it and avoid the cost of doing a bone graft or whatever. You may need to augment the area or prepare it for a brand new implant. So it, it just, it can be applied in so many different ways as far as whether it’s financial and building upon this laser or whether it’s just improving the outcome of your work or being able to guarantee your work or stand by your work or just support your office.
Marty Klein: And you mentioned implants there just now, so I want to switch gears a bit to laser-assisted implant placement or the Blast Protocol. Can you tell me briefly what that is and how you apply it with your patients?
Mohamed Hakim: Blast is really another one of those protocols that is, you know, just in application and philosophically so interesting and so cool and it makes sense. Again, before you go into any procedure, any surgery, the first thing you do is you wash your hands, right? It’s the first thing you do. First step to successful surgery, even though we wear gloves, is to wash your hands. Make sure your hands are clean. The Blast protocol involves the application of that very same philosophy where the implant site is prepared using a laser in such a way that it is pretty much sterile able to receive an implant for great integration.
Marty Klein: Sounds to me like you’re finding all kinds of applications with your PerioLase.
Mohamed Hakim: It’s literally an application for every phase of every outcome. If they’re going to keep their teeth, you have LANAP. If they’re going to place an implant, you have the Blast protocol. If you’re trying to maintain an implant or save an implant, you have LAPIP. You know, like there’s, it’s just every step of the way, everything has been accounted for as far as how you can take care of your patient in the best possible way.
Marty Klein: Wonderful. Well, listener, if you’d like to learn more about the practice that Dr. Hakim works in the Denver, Colorado area, the website is www.broadwayfamilydentists.com , and I invite you, the listener, to subscribe to this podcast, if you’ve not done so already. We don’t want you to miss any new episodes. You can do that wherever you download your podcasts, or you can head over to www.LANAP.com/podcast . All of the previous episodes are there. Dr. Hakim, thanks again for joining me today.
Mohamed Hakim: Thank you for having me.