ALD Member Spotlight: Dr. Robin Horton

The Member Spotlight this month is on Dr. Robin Horton. Dr. Horton is a dentist based in Harpenden, United Kingdom where he runs a very busy practice, Wayside Dental Practice. In this member spotlight we find out how his enthusiasm for lasers started and why it continues, how lasers have benefitted his practice and his patients. Although not mentioned in the article, Dr. Horton is also an avid cyclist and will be taking on Mount Ventoux in Southern France in June! Photos shared below. Keep reading to get to know Dr. Horton. 





I qualified as a dentist in 1990 in London, rubber gloves were just becoming a ‘thing’, AIDS was in full swing and autoclaves were being marketed to dentists. The first dental practice I looked at joining still had hot water sterilizers (incubators as I like to think of them.)

Even then, some Dentists were using lasers. I had heard about them but did not know what they did.


I had a part-time Oral Surgery job as well as being in General Practice. I have always been keen to learn more, and as I am sure the readers know, the more you learn the more you realize you don’t know. Minimally Invasive was not my experience in Oral Surgery! But I learned a lot of tissue handling skills.


I got my first diode in the late 1990s and used it to burn things at first! It was one where you had to feed the fibre through and cut off the end each time, a real PIA to use. But still got great results surgically and the healing was so nice. Ugly surgery, beautiful healing.


In 2007 I saw Hugh Flax lecture on the Waterlase MD. I went downstairs after the lecture and ordered one. I now have three Waterlase lasers and four diode lasers in the practice. I would go as far as saying that without my lasers I would give up dentistry. Every clinician who works with me at Wayside has to learn lasers and wear Loupes. Those are the only two critical criteria.


I am passionate about lasers, I use them in every aspect of my work. I find them especially useful in implant dentistry, although of course they are also fantastic for our hygienists and my periodontist.


Patients love the technology. My patients, some of whom have been with me for 30 years, think it’s normal! For example, with our implant surgery patients typically have very little to no pain following the procedure and the laser cuts heal with no scars.


Wayside Dental Practice Dr. Robin Horton with a patient



I am fortunate to know Arun Darbar and Ed Kusek, I joined the ALD in 2008 thanks to Arun and especially enjoy the conferences. I usually speak at them on technology, currently my topic is virtual guided surgery and the digital pathway.


The ALD is very much a family of laser loving dental folk. There will be someone who has the answer to your question. If they don’t know they will know someone who does! It is an independent organization, not beholden to anyone. Science-based, welcoming. Never sit at home with a question, ask someone.


I have had ‘How to’ and clinical case studies published in the dental press, all laser-related. I teach occasionally when my busy practice allows. I still work five full days a week.  My teaching came about through encouragement from the ALD. I probably learn as much from the people I am trying to teach as they do from me!


The pandemic obviously hit us very hard at the start, like all of you dental professionals. I think, we all as science based individuals, got back very quickly with our Air Purifiers and sharing of information to help each other. After all Dental Practices (Offices) are clean places to start with, so it wasn’t much of a change to render them very safe indeed. I helped start a group in the UK called Pandora who are basically a self-help group for dentists, where you can get advice from experienced dental professionals, proper advice that you can actually use, unlike that we in the UK certainly had from our professional bodies, who, to be fair didn’t know what to do for the best.  But for us, and probably the same for folks in the US, if you are staring at Bankruptcy its surprising how hard you can work to find a solution!


Since the pandemic is now largely over and restrictions have almost gone we are actually busier than we were before the pandemic. We just had our end of year and it is a record year for production. Who would have thought that would be the outcome? I think as a laser practice and being ahead with technology, our staff and patients trust us to do the right thing and keep them safe, offer them appropriate solutions for their needs, and hopefully keep it a fun place to come to.


Robin's refurbished bike, ready to take on

Mount Ventoux in June!

This picture taken 10 years ago is on the Stelvio in Italy on the Austrian border which is 2758m high (the road at its highest point). Not far off the Waterlase wavelength at 2780!




We all know the benefits of lasers for our dental patients.  We also know the benefits of lasers exceed the scope of oral tissues.  In this video, Dr Horton treats his favorite four legged patient.  Thanks for sharing, Dr Horton!

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