Lasers have been used in dentistry since 1994 to treat a number of dental problems. Laser dentistry can be a precise and effective way to perform many dental procedures. The potential for laser dentistry to improve dental procedures rests in the dentist’s ability to control power output and the duration of exposure on the tissue (whether gum or tooth structure), allowing for treatment of a highly specific area of focus without damaging surrounding tissues.
What is a laser and how does it work?
A laser is an instrument that produces a very narrow, intense beam of light energy. When laser light comes in contact with tissue, it causes a reaction. The light produced by the laser can remove or shape tissue.
Are lasers used in dentistry?
Yes, lasers can be used as a safe and effective treatment for a wide range of dental procedures and are often used in conjunction with other dental instruments.
Benefits of Laser Dentistry?
Here are some of the major benefits associated with laser dentistry:
- Procedures performed using soft tissue dental lasers may not require sutures (stitches).
- Certain laser dentistry procedures do not require anesthesia.
- Laser dentistry minimizes bleeding because the high-energy light beam aids in the clotting (coagulation) of exposed blood vessels, thus inhibiting blood loss.
- Bacterial infections are minimized because the high-energy beam sterilizes the area being worked on.
- Damage to surrounding tissue is minimized.
- Wounds heal faster and tissues can be regenerated.
Are dental lasers safe?
If the dental laser is used according to accepted practices by a trained practitioner, then it is at least as safe as other dental instruments. However, just as you wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from prolonged exposure to the sun, when your dentist performs a laser procedure, you will be asked to wear special eyeglasses to protect your eyes from the laser.
Laser Dentistry Treatments
General Dentistry Treatments: Dental lasers are used to detect cavities in their early stages, kill the bacteria in a cavity and treat infections in a root canal. They can also be used to perform biopsies of suspicious tissue. And, lasers can be used for the early detection and treatment of cold sores and other oral lesions.
Cosmetic Treatments: Lasers can be incorporated into treatments to improve the appearance of the teeth and gums. These treatments include specific types of teeth whitening and gum recontouring to reduce prominent gums. Also, lasers can be used to cure (harden) white filling material and dental bonding material.
Restorative Treatments: Lasers can be used in a procedure called crown lengthening. During crown lengthening, a laser reshapes the gum and bone tissue to expose healthier tooth structure, thereby creating a more stable foundation for a tooth restoration (e.g., dental crown). Also, a laser can be used to expose partially erupted wisdom teeth that might need to be removed.
Laser dentistry is extremely safe when performed by a qualified dentist that has the appropriate education and training. If lasers are used during your treatment, you will be asked to wear an eye shield to protect your eyes from the laser beam.