Podcast: How Dentists Can Add Laser Services to Increase Their Revenue with Eric Diffley


Kevin:       This is Dr. Kevin Coughlin. You’re listening to Ascent-Dental-Solutions and this is Ascent Radio. Ascent Dental Solutions has a focus on knowledge, education, development and training. Before we begin today’s podcast, I want to give special thanks to Mr. Doug Foresta and his company, Stand Out and Be Heard. Without his time and expertise, this podcast would not be available.

Today, we have another guest and his names is Eric Diffley. I have met Eric, and in full disclosure, he’s been associated with the company Cynosure which is considered the premier, and perhaps, one of the largest and best medical dental laser companies in the world. I can tell you that I was blown away by his knowledge, his expertise, but most importantly, his desire to suit the right products and services for me as a dentist and for other health care providers.

Eric, I thank you so much for taking time from your busy schedule to be on today’s podcast. Can you tell me a little bit about your company and the direction it’s going? I know there’s been a lot of exciting new things going on. And introduce yourself to our listeners.

Eric:           Absolutely. And again, thank you both Doug and Kevin for having me. It’s an absolute pleasure and honor to be here. Again, my name is Eric Diffley. I work for the company called Cynosure which is out of Westford, Massachusetts. Cynosure has been around for 26 years. It’s in over 138 countries so we have a global and a national presence.

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Started off as a very blue collar mechanic-like company with one laser out of a workshop and it kind of blossomed into this overnight success with different types of technologies. And how we got there, really, was build out and start with just one core and good laser. Had great results, great outcomes. Business owners and doctors truly believed in it and it helped grow their businesses. That allowed us to grow into the second, third, fourth laser.

We got to a point where there were other competitors that were doing thing very well, things that we admired and we wanted to grow with them. So there were three different points in Cynosure’s career where they actually purchased different companies. Those companies are Palomar, ConBio and Ellman, leaders in the industry that are now under the Cynosure umbrella.

And very recently, in 2017, Cynosure partnered up with a company called Hologic, who is a woman’s health and mammography company out of Marlborough, Mass, which has allowed Cynosure to grow into this billion dollar company that it is today. So what that means for its customers and our customer’s customers is that endless support, whether it’s from our clinical side, whether it’s from our marketing side, whether it’s from our research and development side. We want to provide our customers with the topnotch support and give them the best products possible.

Kevin:       Eric, when I talk to dentists through my business consulting company, Ascent Dental Solutions, I was blown away by the continuing education courses that your company offered. You opened up a whole realm of possibilities and ideas to the dental profession that I really never thought about. I’ve been practicing for 35 years, I have 14 offices, about 160 employees and there’s almost no aspect of dentistry I don’t do. But for whatever reason, my own faults mostly, I never explored the extra-oral options that lasers could provide to the dental profession. I’ve been using intraoral lasers for well beyond 15 years and today, I’ve seen the ability of what your company and their products can do.

And for our dental listeners, please keep an open mind as we’re confronted over and over again with more PPO type of insurance plans, more paperwork, reduction in our financial returns on investment. For example, we do an amalgam, a composite, an extraction, whatever we’re doing intra-orally, there’s always an insurance plan that’s downgrading and making it more difficult to be profitable and putting more overhead on us. But in the field of aesthetics, what I’ve learned over the last two years, in particular with your company, is the incredible demand. Perhaps, you could talk about the aesthetic demand that your company has seen.

Eric:           Absolutely. A big time for the aesthetic industry came around 2008/2009 when Obama Care was implemented and reimbursement rates really dropped. So it’s now see more patients and make less money. It’s such a tough industry now in the medical field, as you were saying, Kevin, is that the reimbursement process is just a pain. It’s a pain in the medical industry. It’s not what it was in many aspects 10, 15 years ago. So I appreciate you telling all of the listeners to keep an open mind.

I understand there are plenty of companies and sales reps that do like to say that they can make them money, but it’s really a business opportunity here to have these types of discussions and add these types of revenue streams to your office and to your business. What this comes down to is this allows any type of practitioner, doesn’t matter which field they’re in, specialty; family medicine, dentistry, plastic surgery, to make that income and focus more on their specialty with greater care. Going home at night knowing that they’re able to feed their family and are able to live a comfortable life, however, they’re still focusing on what they currently chose to do.

Kevin:       That is exactly correct. From your market research and a company with your size and breadth of information, what would you say the largest demand is? Is it hair reduction and hair removal, is it tattoo removal, is it the reduction of fat cells or adipose tissue, a combination of all three? What would you say to our listeners that your company sees as the highest demand?

Eric:           That’s a great question and that also leads into why Cynosure has this whole rapporteur or arsenal of different types of devices. It’s not a one trick pony. We do everything and we do everything very well. So whether that is tattoo removal, skin tightening, photofacial, body contouring, invasive, noninvasive, hair reduction, even dipping into women’s health, we have it all.

To answer your question, I would say that the noninvasive body contouring market as well as photofacial market is extremely high right now. Two reasons being for body contouring is that while liposuction is still a sort out procedure and everyone has fat that they’re looking to get rid of, no one anymore wants to go under the knife. It’s a let’s do it and let’s do it now type of lifestyle that everyone’s living. So with this procedure that we have called sculpture, it’s 25 minutes and it’s noninvasive and there’s zero downtime.

How the science works — to keep it simple — the laser heats up the fat cells to a point of destruction, apoptosis; when a cell dies off. And over 6 to 8 weeks, the lymphatic system flushes those fat cells off contouring the body.

And then photofacials; everyone has them, whether it’s a sun spot, blood vessel, telangiectasia, Rosacure, acne scars, stretch marks, all things of that nature on our face which we can’t cover up. And in our society, those are things that all bother us and those are why we’re coming out with these options or solutions that people are seeking very heavily.

Kevin:       I can just tell the listeners that over a year ago, I had Cynosure come to my office. With no preparation, whatsoever, they just showed up and they brought their 1540, their MaxG, their MaxY and their MaxRed laser systems and IPL for Intense Pulsed Light systems into my office one afternoon and I had eight employees immediately ready to sit in a chair to have little nevuses or brown or red spots, what we call liver spots or sun damage for their face. I had others asking for hair reduction and hair removal. I had others wanting to have tattoos removed, and that go without any marketing, without any preparation. I was amazed of the number of employees that I had that were willing to just sit down immediately because they wanted the latest, the best and the most up-to-date technology to resolve their aesthetic wants and needs.

And perhaps me being a man, perhaps me not being abreast to the aesthetic demands that are out there, which is shame on me, the number of female participants that were interested in hair reduction rather than going through electrolysis, waxing, tweezing and sugaring and other aspects of the aesthetician background to reduce and remove hair, this was quick, it was exciting, it was fast, and it was extremely profitable.

Perhaps, Eric, if you were to say to the dental profession and they were considering getting into this field, what would be the first piece of equipment? Assuming they’ve had the appropriate training, they’ve got all the appropriate paperwork and things completed, what would you recommend for that dentist who’s interested in going down this exciting road?

Eric:           Absolutely, that’s another great question. And that’s the honest conversation that we both had. We shut down and we talked about where you’re looking to go and how you’re looking to grow your business. So keeping it inside the realm of dentistry and facial work, we didn’t jump right into the body contouring for you, we stuck within those walls. So for any dentist that is looking to stay within their practice or their scope somewhat, I would recommend IPL or photofacial.

And again, it’s keeping that open mind. A lot of dentists that I’ve spoken to over the years here is that they correct smiles but I ask them, “Doctor, have you ever thought about correcting the smile on the outside? You work on the teeth on the inside, but let’s focus on the out.” And once you start to look at the bigger picture, you realize that a large portion of your customer and client base have these issues or concerns, I should say, that can be treated with photofacial.

And like you said, you had eight of your colleagues or staff members ready to jump on the table to get treated and I would bet you that six out of the eight of them were already having treatment elsewhere. It’s the type of industry where the people if they don’t see it, they won’t ask about it, but once you have a type of solution, they start to come out with all these problems.

And again, like we spoke, Kevin, it’s the type of procedure where you can take care of a patient and say, “Do you mind if I just take care of that little stretch mark or scar on your face?” Once you take care of that as a complimentary service to that customer, they will come back to you, (1), in good faith, and, (2), to say, “Now that that’s gone, I realized that I have these freckles or these melasma over here. Can we start treating that?” And that’s how you really start these procedures that they focus on one thing and once that’s taken care of, they start to realize that there were a couple of other issues or problems that they want to take care of and resolve.

Kevin:       I think for many of our dental listeners, they are familiar with Ellman because they’ve been associated with the dental profession for quite some time. One of the things that Eric did for my personal dental practice was to introduce me to Ellman, which is radiofrequency, reduction of gingival tissues, coagulation of blood, the removal of fibromas, frenectomies, the list goes on and on, intra-orally. But I didn’t realize Ellman had attachments that would help with skin tightening, improving tone, texture, appearance. And it was quite interesting to me that I had the machine, I just didn’t have all the attachments. And with your company’s expertise, we were able to put them together and expand into facial photo improvements and texture tightness and appearance of the skin. And maybe you can discuss that in a little better detail.

Eric:           Absolutely. Again, Ellman was a company that Cynosure acquired in September 2014. Ellman was the leader in aesthetic and radiofrequency technology. So Cynosure kind of looked and said, “Hey listen, we could probably come out with something pretty good or pretty similar, but we have the cash flow right now, we have the stable company that will allow us to purchase them and make them part of the Cynosure family. Let’s not reinvent the wheel here.”

Again, as you mentioned with the coagulation and soft tissue cutting, there’s a separate attachment that is radiofrequency and it stimulates collagen and elastin. And how it does that is that you heat the skin to a certain temperature and it’s attracted to water in the skin. So the more hydrated you are, the better result you’re going to get. And then over a series of treatments in weeks and months, the skin starts to become more unified as that elastin and collagen is reproduced.

Kevin:       I can tell you through my own experience that the patients generally find it very, very relaxing and very comfortable. I won’t kill our listeners with didactic information, but basically, you’re using three or four different size heads, you’re placing a moisturizing cream or an ultrasonic type cream on the tissue and you’re heating it up to about 40 to 44 degrees centigrade, which is roughly between 102 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. And for three to five minutes, you’re massaging areas of the face that your patient or client has concerns with.

It’s really like a souped-up on steroids facial that’s giving you long term much better results and much more cost-effective. Typically, your average facial makes you feel good and relaxed, but the long term success and improvements are minor, at best. Whereas when you start implementing radiofrequency, I can tell you first hand, you’re seeing a significant improvement in the tone, texture and appearance of the skin. And the clients have been extremely satisfied because they know the results are much longer lasting. And it’s just a very nice way to introduce your team members and your practice to the extra-oral aesthetic aspect of health care.

Eric:           Absolutely.

Kevin:       Eric, I want to say thank you to you and your company, not only personally, for providing guidance, training and education. But before we close, can you just provide a little bit of information? This Pellevé, this radiofrequency device, on average, what would you expect the dental profession to have to invest to incorporate that particular system into their practice?

Eric:           While our many different platforms range from different prices, it matters how you configure it as well, the Pellevé system will range somewhere within the 50, 60, 70 thousand dollar range, depending on how you get it configured as well. Because there’s facial attachment, there’s body attachment, and then there’s also a surgical component, that you mentioned, that you can add onto it as well. So there really is different configurations on pricing, but that is the ballpark.

Kevin:       If you were to expand into Intense Pulsed Light or IPL, what would you say, again, in a range for the dental profession to consider investing in those types of procedures and equipment?

Eric:           Again, it’s different configuration with our IPL device because there’s about five or six hand pieces so it definitely ranges. But you’re looking anywhere from $80,000 and it can get all the way up until $160,000, $170,000. But the point I like to make here is not that final price because there are a lot of times it’s a lease-to-buy situation. So what we break it down is a monthly cost, an ROI at that point. How many patients does it see to make that monthly payment? And generally, it’s anywhere from two to three to four patients a month, which seems pretty reasonable. Which bring it back to that perspective of it comes down to patients per month on how many you can treat, and then it’s a good business opportunity from there because they are cash-based procedures.

Kevin:       Eric, I want to thank you again. I want to thank your company, Cynosure. I want to thank you from employees and team members on the wonderful adjunct that you’ve provided. I’ve actually, for our listeners, started another company called Ascent Laser Aesthetics with a focus just on extra-oral treatment to improve the overall condition of the skin and the contours of the skin. And I can tell you, at age 59, it’s put another spark in me and I’m excited and it couldn’t have been done without your expertise and your company’s support.

You’ve been listening to Ascent Radio. My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin and my company is Ascent Dental Solutions, with a focus on education, training, development and knowledge. Our guest today was Eric Diffley and he is the sales manager and business consultant for Cynosure and I can tell you my response to this company has been over the top. Their support, their care, their service and their ability to support me through this new education and training has been outstanding. Eric, thank you so much.

In closing, I want to thank Mr. Doug Foresta and his company, Stand Out and Be Head. Without his expertise, this podcast would not be available. Thanks so much and I appreciate your time and expertise again, Eric.

Eric:           Thank you both very much. It’s been an honor.