In recent years, laser dentistry has superseded many traditional dentistry practices, making treatments more precise and less painful. This newer style of dentistry utilizes intense beams of light projected by a dental laser. Dental lasers can be used to perform a wide variety of treatments, including soft tissue shaping and removal.
The FDA deemed laser dentistry to be safe for public usage in 1990. Since then, many dentists have incorporated dental lasers into everyday procedures – reducing bleeding, anxiety and post-treatment recovery times. The beauty of dental lasers is that they damage far less of the surrounding tissue than traditional techniques – which means less discomfort and pain.
Here are some of the other benefits associated with laser dentistry:
Faster healing and tissue regeneration.
Preservation of more of the natural tooth.
Reduced bleeding during and after treatment.
Reduced need for anesthesia.
Reduced need for stitches and sutures.
Reduced risk of bacterial infections after procedures.
How can laser dentistry help me?
Laser dentistry is incredibly versatile and plays an important role in a growing number of common dental procedures. Though laser dentistry is most notably associated with cosmetic treatments, it is equally effective for preventative purposes.
Here are some of the ways that dental lasers can be used:
Tooth preparation – Prior to laser dentistry, a drill would be required to prepare the tooth for a filling. Lasers can now completely eliminate the need for drilling and anesthesia. Lasers also successfully kill oral bacteria around the surgical site.
Reshaping soft tissue – Dental lasers can dissolve soft tissue to expose more of the natural tooth (crown lengthening), reshape soft tissue to make "gummy smiles" more attractive, and remove uncomfortable soft tissue folds caused by denture wear.
Frenectomy – Lasers can improve speech and the feeding habits of babies, children and adults by untying the tongue.
Tumor removal – When benign tumors have formed in the soft tissue areas of the mouth, a dental laser can completely remove them without causing pain.
Whitening – Lasers can greatly expedite the tooth whitening process by increasing the activity of the particles in the peroxide bleaching solution.
Biopsy – Lasers are sometimes used to perform a biopsy on suspicious areas of soft tissue. This biopsy procedure can be performed instantly and with great precision.
How are laser procedures performed?
Different types of dental laser have been created to treat different conditions. Each laser uses a different wavelength of light, which predicates its best use. The most common types of dental laser are carbon dioxide lasers and diode lasers, which are usually employed to treat soft tissue problems. The dentist will decide which type of laser is best to use after conducting X-rays and a thorough examination.
The laser beam is extremely bright, and special glasses will be provided to protect the eyes. The dentist will then direct the beam at the affected area and carefully dissolve the soft tissue, harden the filling or whiten the teeth.
The procedure will take far less time than conventional methods, and cause far less anxiety and discomfort. The only real disadvantage of laser dentistry is that it can prove to be more expensive.