Laser dentistry has made huge waves in the medical world over the past 20 years. In theory, it can eliminate the root causes of tooth decay and cavities. When you’re faced with tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, or other oral problems, laser dentistry may possibly be the best treatment option.
The term LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The concept was first introduced for use in dentistry in 1960, which led to decades of research in both soft and hard tissue applications. It was finally approved by the FDA for dental use in 1994. There are currently 4 types of dental lasers commonly in use today, they are Erbium, Nd: YAG, Diode, and CO2. Each type of laser has specific effects and procedures associated with them. Today the most common laser used in dentistry is the Diode type for soft tissue applications.
7 Laser Dentistry Benefits
- If a cavity is causing a tooth to wear down, a dentist can use laser dentistry to remove the decayed part of the tooth and reshape the area to make it healthier.
- Laser dentistry may also be used to smooth down a broken tooth.
- Laser may also be used in setting crowns. When a crown procedure is needed, your dentist will make an impression of your mouth. Once they have the mold, they will be able to use laser to perform a more precise and accurate placement of your tooth or crown. This makes it less likely that you’ll need another filling or cap. In this case, another benefit of a laser procedure, as opposed to drilling, is that it reduces the pain, and healing time.
- Laser dentistry is also a great option for issues such as tooth decay or gum disease. If you’ve experienced either of these, you know how painful they can be. Tooth decay often goes untreated which leads to a buildup of toxins that can cause cavities. Laser dentistry can also treat gum disease, which can alleviate sores and painful pockets on your cheeks and around the gum line.
- Perhaps one of the most impressive uses of laser dentistry is in dental hygiene, as laser can effortlessly get rid of unwanted debris, such as small pieces of plaque that haven’t been removed through scraping and other traditional cleaning treatments.
- Perhaps one of the most apparent improvements of lasers compared to drills is the extreme accuracy. Drills touch other surface areas of the tooth that don’t need work, whereas lasers can pinpoint the precise target area. This is huge advantage for dental cleanings as the laser can clean areas in between teeth which are virtually impossible to access with any other cleaning instrument or method.
- Another benefit is that Lasers are completely silent which puts patients at ease, as opposed to experiencing the anxiety that is often caused by the sound of the drill. Laser treatments also have fewer recovery symptoms like pain, gum bleeding and possible infection from open wounds.
Laser technology is relatively new in its dental applications; however, as the technology develops, more uses and benefits are being discovered and the use of laser dentistry is becoming more widely accepted and recognized.
In many cases, laser dentistry is a less invasive procedure than drilling and often reduces post-operative pain, swelling, and soreness.
What Are Possible Downsides of Laser Dentistry?
As you can see, there are many benefits of laser dentistry. However, as with any type of dental procedure, you should always think about safety first. Since the procedures performed with lasers involve using high levels of energy, it’s important that you consult with your dentist before undergoing any treatments. He or she can evaluate your health and give you the right advice. Your dentist should also prepare you with any medications that will be required after the procedure has been completed.
Laser technology has considerably improved over the years, however, in some cases, laser dentistry may cause tooth sensitivity that could last from days to weeks after the treatment. During the first few days after the surgery, you could experience some pain, swelling, and discomfort but this would eventually go away.
Another consideration is the cost, as laser dentistry requires special training and expensive equipment, therefore the procedures can be more costly than traditional dental treatments. Be sure to ask your dental office administrator to check with your insurance company to assure that laser dentistry is covered by your dental policy.