Maybe forty years ago if someone had said to you that lasers would play an important role in dentistry, you probably would have shot them down right away, and labeled them “poco loco.” However, here we are and the cosmetic dentist in Orange County is telling us that today, lasers are an integral part of some dental procedures.
The best dentist is at the cutting edge of dental advancements and is always staying ahead of the progress in dental procedures. We combine innovative dental lasers into our procedures to offer our patients better results than we ever believe possible.
There are many advantages to laser dentistry, so carry on reading to find out more.
What is Laser Dentistry?
Laser dentistry involves the use of lasers to treat various dental conditions. It was in 1989 when lasers were commercially used in clinical dental practice for procedures.
Laser dentistry probably offers a more comfortable method of treatment for many dental procedures involving hard or soft tissue compared to non-laser tools or even drills.
The word ‘LASER’ is an acronym that stands for “light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation.” The instrument produces light energy in a very precise and focused beam. This light creates a reaction when it touches tissue, letting it remove or shape the tissue.
Laser dentistry is used in several procedures, including:
- treating hypersensitivity
- treating tooth decay
- treating gum disease
- whitening teeth
A few of the benefits that lasers offer that you need to know about are that they make dental procedures more comfortable, cost-effective, and efficient. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved laser dentistry as a treatment option for many different dental conditions.
How Are Laser Treatments Performed?
Lasers in dentistry are usually used in two main types of procedures and that is hard tissue and soft tissue procedures. When a dentist refers to hard tissue, they are talking about teeth, and when they mention soft tissue, this refers to the gums.
Typical hard tissue procedures involve:
Tooth prep and dental fillings: Normally when you do laser treatments, the dentists do not have to use local anesthesia and traditional drills. Lasers are able to destroy bacteria in a cavity, which can help with the long-term health of a tooth.
Cavity detection: Lasers can find cavities early by searching for evidence of tooth decay.
Treating tooth sensitivity: Teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures can be treated with dental lasers that seal tubules on the tooth’s root.
General soft tissue procedures include:
- Treating a “gummy smile”: Lasers are used to change the shape of gum tissue linked with a “gummy smile,” which involves the gums’ length covering too much of the tooth.
- Crown lengthening: This procedure changes the shape of both gum tissue and bone for healthier tooth structure, which aids with placing restorations on the teeth.
- Treating tongue frenulum attachment: if a patient has a thick or tight frenulum (the fold of skin under the front part of the tongue that anchors to the mouth floor) may take advantage of laser frenectomy. This treatment helps children whose limited frenulum causes them to be tongue-tied, have a speech impediment, or have difficulty breastfeeding.
- Removing soft tissue folds: Lasers can get rid of soft tissue folds from ill-fitting dentures without pain or sutures.
Other laser procedures involved:
- Getting rid of benign tumors: Lasers can get rid of tumors from the palate, gums, and sides of the lips and cheeks using a pain- and suture-free method.
- Treating obstructive sleep apnea: Lasers can amend the throat and alleviate linked breathing issues when sleep apnea is caused by tissue overgrowth in the throat.
- Treating cold sores: Lasers can reduce healing time and minimize pain from cold sores.
- Nerve regeneration: Lasers can aid in the regeneration of damaged blood vessels, nerves, and scars.
- Teeth whitening: Lasers accelerate the bleaching process during teeth-whitening sessions.
- Viewing tissues: Optical coherence tomography gives the doctor the opportunity to safely see inside a tooth or gum tissue.
- TMJ (temporomandibular joint) treatment: Lasers can help lower pain and inflammation in the joint.
Laser treatments, such as the ones mentioned above, can fluctuate in price and it is all contingent on the procedure being done and the laser equipment utilized. When you compare a laser treatment to a non-laser treatment, they may be less expensive since the laser treatment is normally carried out in fewer sessions. Plus, dental insurance regulates reimbursement costs based on the treatment itself and not based on the method used.
So, your compensation is probably the same as one that requires drilling and other procedures. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to ask about your specific policy prior to getting your procedure done.
What Kind Of Lasers Are Being Used?
Dentists use either hard tissue or soft tissue lasers, but this all depends on the treatment. At times, both lasers are used if the treatment calls for it.
If the dentist has to cut through tooth structure, they will use hard tissue lasers. The reason being is that hard tissue lasers have wavelengths that absorb through the mix of water and a particular mineral found in teeth. These lasers are usually used to prep or shape teeth for composite bonding, to fix dental fillings that have worn down, and to get rid of some tooth structure.
Advantages Of Laser Dentistry
- Less need for sutures with soft tissue lasers.
- Less bleeding when treating soft tissues since the laser encourages blood clotting.
- Anesthesia is not needed for some procedures.
- The probability of bacterial infections is less since the laser cleans the area.
- Wounds heal faster and the tissue can regenerate.
- The procedures do less damage to the surrounding tissues.
Disadvantages Of Laser Dentistry
- You can’t use lasers on teeth that have certain types of fillings such s metal amalgam.
- Hard lasers can sometimes harm tooth pulp.
- You may need anesthesia for some laser procedures.
- Your dentist may still need to drill to complete fillings, and this includes adjusting the bite, shaping, and polishing the filing.
- Some procedures can’t be carried out with laser treatment, depending on the condition of the surrounding tissue or components involving the tooth or gums.
- There is a possibility of gum injury.