Diode Laser Improving Treatment at EWU Dental Hygiene Clinic

November 12, 2023

The EWU Dental Hygiene Clinic is now using a diode laser to provide cutting-edge care for patients.

MultiCare provided a $21,000 grant that made it possible for the 46-chair clinic, which is located on the Spokane campus and serves about 2,000 low-income and uninsured patients annually, to purchase the laser.

“As a low-cost clinic we are unable to purchase new technology without the support of our community partners. This grant from MultiCare allows our low-income patients to experience new technology while we address oral health concerns,” says Professor Lisa Bilich, former chair of the EWU Department of Dental Hygiene.

Over the summer, eight faculty members took the online training course, and another two received hands-on training, on how to operate the laser. Students have started working in pairs using the laser on patients who exhibit periodontal disease, learning under the supervision of trained faculty, Bilich says.

So far, more than a dozen patients have received oral care with the laser, which helps hygienists treat gum disease by reducing bacteria and toxins in periodontal pockets, while also reducing the risk of infection.

“The patients will have high-quality treatment and they are not charged for this extra adjunct care,” Bilich says.

Now that faculty are fully trained on using the laser, the program will require all students to learn how to use this technology, Bilich says.

**To learn more about the department’s outstanding work, read A Half-Century of Smiles.