In recent years dental lasers have become an important tool in treating a wide range of dental issues. While they’re available in different styles depending on whether the need is to treat hard (teeth or bone) or soft (gums and oral tissue) surfaces, all lasers work via the same principle: delivering energy in the form of light.
Dental lasers continue to be widely used in dental practices of all types. According to the Mer Bleue Dental Centre, an Orléans dental clinic, the lasers are a valuable tool.
Dental lasers are used for a variety of applications such as treating canker sore and cold sore pain, treating gum disease and root canal infections, removing tooth decay, removing gum inflammation, reshaping gums, performing biopsies, exposing wisdom teeth, removing the throat tissue that causes sleep apnea, removing benign oral tumours, and others. In cosmetic dentistry, they’re also used for dental bonding and during teeth whitening treatments.
Dentists love them because their precision and effectiveness helps promote faster healing with less pain, bleeding, swelling, and risk of infection due to the laser sterilizing the gums. Because laser procedures are minimally invasive at most, patients are less likely to require sutures.
Less pain is a major factor for patients. And lasers deliver. “If just the thought of a scalpel going near your mouth gives you the shivers, then laser dentistry is your new best friend,” according to an article from West County Dental, a St. Louis, MO practice led by Dr. Pete Spalitto. “This high-energy light technology is vastly less invasive than traditional methods. It eliminates the use of drills and scalpels in many dental procedures, which also reduces the need for anesthesia. Even biopsies and cavity fillings are made painless with laser dentistry!”
While laser procedures are used in myriad applications, they’re perhaps employed most often in the care and treatment of periodontal disease.
This disease occurs when the supporting tissues and bone that hold your teeth in place become infected, a common but preventable occurrence that mainly affects adults in their 30s and 40s. Causes are varied and include poor oral hygiene, smoking, chronic illnesses like diabetes, and even genetic factors. Gum disease can also be caused or exacerbated by certain medications.
“Although techniques for treating periodontal (gum) disease can vary, they all boil down to one objective: remove the bacterial plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) that cause the infection,” writes Mark D. Zahn, DDS, MS, PC of the Ann Arbor Implant and Periodontal Center in Michigan. “The initial treatment usually involves two techniques known as scaling and root planing.”
These are the first actions a dentist will generally take once gum disease has been diagnosed. Traditional scaling is a manual procedure that’s performed using hand instruments, ultrasonic equipment or a combination of both to manually remove plaque and calculus from the tooth and root surfaces. Root planing then essentially shaves infected material from the root surfaces.
Zahn adds that, “In recent years, an adaptation to these treatments has emerged using the Nd: YAG laser. The laser uses a particular crystal that’s adaptable for many different types of surgery. In the case of gum disease, it’s been found as effective as traditional methods for removing the infected linings of periodontal pockets.”
By all accounts, laser dentistry is here to stay, and many dentists welcome it. A few years ago, the website dentalproductsreport.com asked a number of dentists about their own experiences using the technology and their responses were overwhelmingly positive. And for patients, you just can’t beat the effectiveness, efficiency, minimization of pain, and, of course, the absence of the buzzing sound of the drill, all of which combine to make laser dentistry popular across the board.