Laser dentistry is the use of lasers to treat a number of different dental conditions.
It is commercially available and used in clinical dental practice for procedures involving tissue in 1989.
Moreover, laser dentistry potentially offers a comfortable treatment option for various dental procedures.
This involves hard or soft tissue compared to drills and other non-laser tools.
The word LASER stands for ” light amplification by stimulated emissions of radiation”.
Furthermore, the instrument creates light energy in a very narrow and focused beam.
This laser light also produces a reaction when it hits tissue, thus, allowing it to remove or shape the tissue.
Your dentist can use the process of laser dentistry for hypersensitivity, tooth decay, gum disease, teeth whitening, etc.
Therefore, lasers can make your treatment more efficient, cost-effective, and even comfortable.
FDA or the Food and Dry Administration approves this treatment for a number of dental conditions.
Keep on reading to learn more about it.
Types of Lasers
The two main types of lasers that your dentist might choose to choose during the procedure of laser dentistry are:
- hard tissue lasers
- soft tissue lasers
It is important to note that each one of these types uses a different wavelength that makes it appropriate for cutting into a specific type of tissue.
Moreover, this works as each kind of tissue absorbs wavelengths of light in different ways.
By altering the wavelength of light and in some cases, pulse, dentists craft lasers with light wavelengths that are compatible with the tissues in your mouth.
Let’s learn more about these types in detail.
Hard Tissue Lasers
The use of hard tissue lasers is primarily for your teeth. The wavelength of one of these lasers cut through both water and bone.
Especially it cuts through calcium phosphate that is present in both your teeth and bones.
Moreover, these lasers can very accurately cut into your teeth, thus, removing small amounts for shaping purposes, or for preparation of procedures.
Furthermore, your dentist can use hard tissue lasers for:
Soft Tissue Lasers
On the other hand, soft tissue laser uses a light wavelength that both hemoglobin and water can easily absorb.
Hemoglobin is a molecule that is present in your blood. It makes soft tissue laser ideal for gum work.
Moreover, some soft tissue lasers are also diode lasers which is a type of continuous-wave laser.
It is important to note that this laser is ideal for cutting into soft tissue and also sealing the exposed blood vessels at the same time.
This is why you do not bleed a lot during the treatment of laser dentistry.
Furthermore, it makes healing quick and fast. Soft tissue lasers are ideal for cosmetic procedures as you can begin to see the results right away.
These treatments are:
- lengthening crowns
- dealing with restricted tongue movement
- reshaping your gums to create a pleasing smile
- removing folds in oral soft tissues that may occur due to dentures.
Now, let’s learn about the procedures.
Performing Laser Dentistry Procedures
The two main types of lasers are hard tissue and soft tissue laser as mentioned above.
It is important to note that hard tissue laser refers to the teeth, while soft tissue refers to the gums.
Some of the common hard tissue procedures are:
With the help of lasers, your dentist can detect cavities early by finding evidence of tooth decay.
Tooth Preparations and Dental Fillings
With most laser treatments you do not need local anesthesia and traditional drills.
Moreover, lasers can also kill bacteria in a cavity, which often aids in the long-term health of your tooth.
If your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold then with the help of laser dentistry, your dentist can seal tubules on the root of your tooth.
On the other hand, some of the common soft tissue procedures are:
Treating a Gummy Smile
With the help of lasers, your dentist can reshape gum tissue that comes with a “gummy smile“.
In this condition, the length of the gums covers much of your tooth.
Treating Tongue Frenulum Attachment
If you have a thick or tight frenulum or the fold of skin under the front part of your tine that anchors to the mouth floor, you may benefit from laser frenectomy.
Moreover, this treatment helps children that have restricted frenulum that causes them to be tongue-tied.
It can also cause difficulty breastfeeding, or having a speech impediment.
Removing Soft Tissue Folds
Laser dentistry can also help to remove soft tissue folds from ill-fitting dentures without pain or sutures.
Other Laser Dentistry Procedures
Some of the other laser dentistry procedures are:
Viewing Tissue: Optical coherence tomography allows your doctor to safely see inside a tooth or a gum tissue.
Removing Benign Tumors: With the help of lasers, your dentist can remove tumors from the palate, gums, and sides of the lips, and cheeks through pain and suture-free method.
Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Lasers can also help to reshape the throat and relieve breathing problems that come with sleep apnea.
It can be due to tissue overgrowth in your throat.
TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint Treatment: With the help of lasers, your dentist can help to relieve pain and inflammation in the joint if you have TMJ.
Nerve Regeneration: Your dentist can use lasers to help regenerate damaged blood vessels, nerves, and scars.
Treating Cold Sores: Moreover, your dentist can use lasers to minimize healing time and even reduce pain from cold sores.
Teeth Whitening: Furthermore, lasers can speed up the bleaching process during teeth whitening sessions.
It is important to note that treatments such as these can vary in price and often depends on the procedure and the laser equipment your dentist will use.
In comparison to non-laser treatment, they may be less expensive as the laser treatment often take a few sessions to complete.
Additionally, dental insurance often determines reimbursement cost that is based on the treatment itself, not on the method.
Therefore, your compensation is likely to be the same as it would with drilling and other dental procedures.
However, it is always important to ask your insurance policy to get the most accurate information.
Benefits of Using Laser Dentistry over Other Methods
Some of the potential benefits of using laser dentistry over other methods are as follows:
There is a potentially lesser need for sutures when you undergo the procedure with soft tissue lasers.
Bleeding is minimal in the case of soft tissues, as the laser promotes blood clotting.
In the case of some procedures, using anesthesia is also unnecessary.
The chance of bacterial infections is also lower as the laser sterilizes the area of treatment.
Moreover, wounds tend to heal faster, and it is also possible for the tissues to regenerate.
These procedures may also involve less damage to the surrounding tissue.
Soft tissue lasers absorb through water and hemoglobin and can help to treat periodontitis, including killing bacteria and activating tissue growth.
Furthermore, it can help to seal the nerve ending and blood vessels while they penetrate the tissue.
For this reason, many individuals experience almost no pain after laser dentistry treatment.
They also promote faster healing of the tissues.
Disadvantages of Laser Dentistry
Some of the disadvantages of laser dentistry are as follows: In cases, you have certain types of fillings like metal amalgam, then your dentist cannot use them.
Moreover, hard lasers can, in some cases, injure the tooth pulp that is the innermost part of your tooth.
Some lasers procedures still need anesthesia.
In some cases, your dentist may still need to use drills to complete fillings.
This includes shaping, adjusting the bite, and polishing the filling.
Furthermore, certain procedures cannot be completed with laser treatments, depending on the preexisting surrounding tissue or component involving the tooth or gums.
It is important to note that in some cases, there is a risk of gum injury.
Risks Associated with Laser Dentistry
It is important to note that the risks associated with laser dentistry are relatively small.
Moreover, it is important that you find a qualified dental professional, as using the wrong wavelength or power level can damage the tissues.
Additionally, some providers worry that advertisers are pushing the use of laser treatments beyond what individuals actually need.
Thus, your dentist will use a special type of glasses to protect your eyes from the laser.
Finding a Dentist
In order to find a qualified dentist for laser treatments, look for a professional who has taken educational courses and received appropriate training and experience. Popular sources of education are through dental schools and dental associations as well as through the Academy of Laser Dentistry, ALD.
Moreover, you can also ask your insurance provider for recommendations and ask your friends and family members if any one of them has had positive experiences with laser dentistry. With the help of websites with rating systems, you can also find a profession, though it is important to determine whether the raters are giving unbiased opinions.