Could Your Next Dental Treatment Be Performed with a Laser?
One tool that has really changed dentistry in recent years is the laser. Under carefully controlled conditions, this amazing beam of light is now being used in many dental treatments. It simplifies many processes, and in some cases, even makes them much less painful.
The use of lasers in dentistry has been approved by the FDA. Most of the lasers in use today have variable power outputs, which lets the dentist select the appropriate power level for a specific task. This makes buying lasers an easier choice for the dentist since one laser will do many tasks. There are also several types of lasers and each type may be limited to only several power ranges.
Lasers are generally classified as being either a dental soft tissue laser or a hard tissue laser. Soft tissue refers to the gums and lining of the mouth, and hard tissue refers to teeth and bone.
Advantages of Lasers in Dentistry
Lasers cannot be used in every aspect of dentistry, but where they can be used, it already makes a great difference. Some of the benefits of laser dentistry include:
- A reduced need for sutures – sometimes none are needed at all
- Bleeding is minimized and almost non-existent
- Anesthesia may not be needed in some laser dental procedures
- The chance of infection from bacteria is greatly reduced
- There is less damage to surrounding tissue
- Wounds heal faster and lasers aid in tissue regeneration
- Lasers kill more bacteria in periodontal pockets.
Ways Lasers Are Used in Dentistry
A laser used in dentistry can be used to provide many treatments. These include:
- Removing Cavities – A laser can be used to remove decayed tooth material, but it cannot be used to remove an amalgam. Due to the darker color of the cavity, the laser is able to selectively eliminate it.
- Laser Teeth Whitening – Lasers provide much better results when it comes to whitening teeth. The laser light is used to activate chemicals in the solution the dentist uses on teeth. This enables dentists to get results that are five or six shades whiter in one appointment.
- Laser Gum Treatment – When lasers are used for gum treatment, they provide two benefits: it cauterizes blood immediately which means the dentist maintains a clear view and there is very little blood loss. There is also almost no pain because it seals nerves instantly, too.
- Laser Treatment for Gum Disease – While this is similar to laser gum treatment, lasers provide additional benefits when treating periodontal disease. They make it no longer necessary to slice open pockets to remove the bacteria. A dentist merely needs to stick a very narrow fiber-optic cable into the gum pocket and the laser will kill 99 percent of the bacteria. Because a laser works best on darker materials, it will only destroy damaged or inflamed tissue and not damage the rest. This results in less tissue removal than would occur with a traditional scalpel.
- Biopsy – When an oral tissue sample is needed for analysis, it can safely be accomplished with a laser. A laser can also be used to remove an oral lesion or help to provide relief from a canker sore.
- Root Canals – Lasers can be used to help destroy the bacteria in a tooth in preparation for a root canal.
- Reshaping of Bone or Gum Tissue – A laser can trim or remove tissue that has become overgrown as a result of some medications, or it can trim bone or reshape it. It can also be used to remove tissue that has grown over a wisdom tooth or a dental implant.
- Drill a Hole for Dental Implants – A laser can drill a more precise hole in preparation for a dental implant. The hole is more accurately cut, which enables the bone to attach to it sooner.
Miscellaneous Dental Laser Treatment
In addition to many standard dental procedures, the laser also has several other uses that the dentist may use it for. These treatments may include treating sleep apnea, nerve regeneration, reducing pain and inflammation in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and removing benign tumors.
Laser Dentistry and Children
Children are often fearful of the sound of the dentist’s drill. Lasers provide the added benefit of needing much less anesthesia, providing a higher comfort level for the child, and they also enable a dentist to accomplish more in less time – getting the child out of the chair sooner.
Laser Use and Insurance
Even though dental lasers are employed in many dental practices, it seems that the insurance industry has not yet caught on. So far, they choose not to pay for dental services using lasers, even though the healing time is faster and that it reduces the risk of bleeding, infection, and can be often performed in less time. So, if you want the insurance company to pay for it, you will have to settle for the traditional methods.
The use of lasers in dental treatments is here to stay and the benefits to patients are tremendous. If you need dental treatment and want a better experience and faster healing with lasers, ToothHQ’s Board Certified Periodontists, can help you. He uses laser dentistry in many dental treatments in his Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Dallas and Grapevine, TX offices. Most dental insurance plans are accepted. To set up a consultation or to get more information about laser treatments, you can contact us at (214) 731 0123