In today’s age of advanced technology, it is hard to keep up with the lightening fast changes that take place every day! Many forms of technology are used in the medical industry and one of those, the laser, has become very useful in dental care. So what exactly is a laser and how is it used in dental care?
A laser is a device that produces a very narrow and intense beam of light energy. When this type of light energy comes into contact with tissue, it triggers a reaction, which can effectively remove or reshape body tissue. Lasers have been used in dentistry to treat a variety of dental problems since 1994. Pressure, heat, and vibration are the primary causes of pain often associated with the use of traditional dental treatment. Bearing in mind that cutting both the soft and hard tissues with lasers does not generate pressure, vibration or heat, most dental procedures may be performed virtually pain-free and without the need for anesthesia. Typically, the prospect of using the laser for both tooth and gum procedures will reduce post-operative pain, bleeding, swelling, and the need for pain medication. However, it is important to note that the potential to enhance dental applications with a laser largely depends on the ability of the dentist to regulate power output as well as the time of exposure to the tissue. In hard tissues treatments, the laser is used for bleaching, cavity preparation, growth modulation, dentinal hypersensitivity, caries prevention and restorative removal and curing. On the other hand, soft tissues applications may include the elimination of the hyperplastic tissue, removal of a partially erupted tooth and wound healing among others. Overall, the use of laser dentistry has proved to be a highly useful tool to enhance specificity, efficiency, the cost and comfort of the dental treatment.
What are the Different Types of Dental Lasers?
In the dental practice, lasers are classified according to tissue applicability; soft and hard tissues lasers. Of course, they can also be classified according to the lasing medium used, such as solid laser and gas laser. The Food and Drug Administration has approved many soft and hard tissues lasers that can be utilized in the dental treatment of both children and adults.
Soft tissue Dental Lasers
Lasers used for soft tissue applications have a wavelength which is highly absorbable by hemoglobin and water, a factor that makes them extremely effective for soft tissue handling. A typical example of a soft tissue laser is the Neodymium Yttrium Aluminum Garnet Laser. It can be used during periodontal treatment and has the capability to activate tissue re-growth and kill bacteria. Soft tissue lasers usually penetrate tissue while effectively sealing nerve endings as well as blood vessels. Perhaps this is the main reason why most individuals experience little or no postoperative pain following soft tissue laser application. What’s more, soft tissue lasers can accelerate the healing process of damaged tissue.
Some Common Soft Tissue Dental Procedures
• Frenula: For kids who are tongue-tied and toddlers who are unable to breastfeed appropriately, a laser frenectomy is a fantastic treatment option for them.
• Laser Tooth Whitening: Laser teeth whitening is a highly effective method to whiten your teeth. It is affordable and has become more popular among individuals seeking to correct their dull smile.
• Benign Tumors: In this case, they may be used to remove benign tumors from the palate, gums, lips, and sides of cheeks efficiently and without pain.
• Sleep Apnea: There are cases where sleep apnea can result in tissue overgrowth, especially in areas of your throat. A Laser Assisted Uvula Palatoplasty, LAUP, treatment procedure can be conducted so as to re-shape the throat and curb the resulting breathing problems.
• Cold Sores: Dental lasers that have low light intensity have been proven to reduce the pain associated with a cold sore.
• Lengthening of Crown: Lasers can potentially reshape gum and bone tissue, and this might help expose the healthier tooth structure.
• Soft Tissue Folds: Also, dental lasers are ideal for the pain-free as well as the suture-free extraction of soft tissue folds, usually caused by the improper fitting of dentures.
Hard Tissue Lasers
Hard tissue laser devices boast of a wavelength, which is highly absorbable by the calcium phosphate salt present in teeth and bone and water. Such a phenomenon makes them suitable for cutting through the structure of the tooth. The typical examples of hard tissue lasers are Erbium Chromium YSGG as well as the Erbium YAG. The erbium wavelengths have a high affinity for hydroxyapatite. In fact, they have the highest water absorption ability than any other dental laser wavelength. It is worth noting that hard tissue dental lasers are used to enhance the precision with which lasers cut into teeth and bone tissues.
Hard Tissue Dental Applications
• Tooth sensitivity: Hard tissue lasers can be used to cover the tubules, which are typically located on the root of the tooth. These tubules are what responsible for both cold and hot tooth sensitivity. Studies have shown that erbium YAG is very effective in desensitizing exposed hypersensitive dentine.
• Tooth Preparation: Hard tissue dental lasers have been used to eliminate the need for injection for local anesthesia. This kind of lasers can also kill bacteria found in your cavity, and this may result in improved long-term tooth restorations.
What are the Benefits of Laser Dentistry?
Increased accuracy and precision: The laser technology allows dentists to remove the tooth enamel decay (the hardest substance found in the body), gum and bone tissues with increased level of precision while leaving the surrounding tissues unaffected. This is vital since it ensures that the natural structure of your tooth remains unchanged.
Reduced cases of injury: High-speed drills can potentially cause hairline fractures and cracks in your teeth, eventually leading to future dental complications. But, dental laser devices reduce damage to healthy parts of the tooth and minimizes trauma.
Less swelling and bleeding: As a result of their conservative cutting action, dental laser devices can perform a variety of soft tissue applications with little or no bleeding as well as decreased post-operative swelling.
In some cases, dentists might not need to utilize a drill or even administer anesthesia, and this allows the patient to have a more relaxed and stress-free dental experience. What’s more, lasers can potentially eliminate the symptoms and healing times often associated with the conventional therapies.
Finally, they minimize bacterial infections mainly because the high-energy beam of light sterilizes the area being treated.
The Bottom Line
The applications of dental laser technology have grown rapidly in the last few years. Due to the high level of efficiency of laser dentistry, many dentists are at the forefront of integrating this useful technology into the treatment of their patients. It offers dentists the opportunity to perform numerous dental procedures, which were previously conducted by the most qualified specialists. From bone and gum surgical procedures to cavity preparation, root canals, tooth whitening to decay removal applications, laser dentistry is extremely versatile.
If you are looking for a cutting-edge dentist who is an expert in general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Halina Montano is just a phone call away! Dr. Montano is a well-respected leader in the dentistry field. Call 561-232-2070 to schedule your appointment. You may be amazed at what just one or two dental procedures can do for you!