Laser treatments and therapy are used in the medical industry to correct and treat several conditions. The laser is an acronym for ‘Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. From medical surgeries to simple cosmetic corrections, laser treatment has gained popularity for its precision, and now dentists are increasingly using it in their procedures.
Laser dentistry uses lasers to correct and treat different dental conditions such as cavities, gum surgeries, teeth whitening, and other procedures. They are useful and considered safe if dentists know the essential functions and follow professional protocol on usage. Otherwise, though pending approval from the American Dental Association, the dental organization is optimistic about laser dentistry’s potential in their field.
How Dentists Use Laser Therapy
As briefly stated above, laser technology is useful in treating dental problems such as cavities, teeth whitening, gum disease, and other soft dental tissue problems. Lasers work as cutting tools or vaporizers that can remove or adjust a tissue in different areas. If you go for a whitening procedure, the light boosts the effects of bleaching agents applied to your tooth.
Dentists either use soft tissue or hard tissue lasers for the treatment of varying procedures. Hard tissue lasers help them cut through tooth structure. Their wavelength can cut through water and bone and are useful for processes that focus more on your dental structure’s teeth/bone part.
Soft tissue lasers generally have low wavelengths and are easily absorbed by water and hemoglobin. They quickly cut tissue in the gums area and seal blood vessels. This property makes them useful for cosmetic procedures.
Here are some of the most common uses of laser dentistry.
• Teeth Whitening: Lasers act as heat sources to activate teeth whitening formulas. Many dental clinics are using laser technology for faster results. The dentist will apply a peroxide bleaching agent on your tooth and apply the laser’s light to speed up the process. Although it is not an alternative to traditional methods, this laser treatment takes less time.
• Biopsies: Dentists use a laser to cut and remove a small tissue from your gums for lab examinations such as cancer. The procedure is precise, pain-free, and can also remove tumors and sores from the gums, palate and cheeks.
• Gum disease treatment: Dentists use the lasers to correct gum malalignment and remove bacteria in root canals. They also perform crown lengthening (https://www.healthline.com/health/crown-lengthening) using lasers for a perfect tooth structure. Lasers will break tartar under the gums without dental tools, with no cutting required.
• Treating Tooth Sensitivity: A common tooth problem you may experience or know someone who has experienced is a sharp pain when taking hot or cold things. The lasers seal holes on the tooth’s root and clean away bacteria to relieve you of the effects of tooth sensitivity.
• Treating Root Canal Infections: Root canal infections that cause tooth decay are treatable to save the tooth possibly. The treatment cleans the decay and the surrounding area of the tooth. The procedure also prepares the tooth for filling and keeps you from losing it.
• Nerve Regeneration: Trauma and surgical injuries can damage dental nerves. Low-level laser therapy(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3700144/) is useful to promote nerve regeneration with daily application. There have been positive results in inferior dental nerve regeneration with laser treatments after dental surgery.
• Correcting Tongue Frenulum attachment: This procedure is useful for kids with speech impediment issues, tongue-ties, or breastfeeding problems. The frenulum, a fold of skin under the tongue section that attaches to the mouth floor, can be removed or restructured with laser technology to release the full function of the tongue.
• Viewing tissue: Lasers allow dentists to view the inside of a tooth and gum tissue accurately.
• Removal of apnea-causing throat tissue: The overgrowth of tissue in the throat causes sleeping problems such as apnea. Lasers can adjust the shape of your throat to make way for the tissue and ease your breathing.
• Adjusting improperly positioned dentures: Laser can remove tissues from wrongly placed dentures to ease your pain and discomfort.
• Cavity detection: Soft tissue lasers are useful in spotting tooth cavities early before they start to rot and infect the whole tooth to the root.
Risks Associated with Laser Dentistry
Generally, laser technology is safe to use because there is no sterilization required. Additionally, the precision in which laser cuts minimizes your gums’ chances of getting injuries and your teeth getting damaged.
However, lasers are supposed to be used in professional hands to minimize any risks.
Like any other medical or surgical procedure, your consent is necessary before you undergo any process. The laser procedure follows similar steps to standard dental procedures; the difference is the tool used. Post-procedure, your gums and teeth will not hurt or bleed as much as they do after a standard dental-work.
Cost of Laser Dentistry
Laser treatment procedures may be more expensive than traditional dental procedures, but this is because the cost of the different types of lasers is higher than drills and scalpels. However, the prices may vary depending on the procedure you want to have.
Specific procedures such as teeth whitening may be less expensive because they take a shorter time than non-laser treatment. Individual insurance companies also cover some laser procedures; therefore, prices may vary depending on your cover. You will find laser dentistry cheaper when you compare all the factors associated with laser and non-laser treatments.
Benefits of Using Lasers in Dentistry
Dentists use hard or soft tissue lasers to perform various procedures, and they achieve different outcomes. Traditional techniques are still used and trusted by dentists but compared to them; laser dentistry has its benefits. Some of the advantages are:
• Laser therapy causes less pain in specific procedures, therefore reducing the need for anesthesia.
• Since there is minimal use of a scalpel, there’s also a decreased need for sutures.
• Laser dentistry has minimal bleeding episodes because of decreased usage of prodding tools and the laser’s ability to promote blood clotting.
• There is a decreased chance of infection because lasers do not require sterilization, and they also sterilize the site where the procedure is taking place.
• You have chances of more accurate outcomes and minimal damage to your teeth and gums.
• Your recovery is faster with laser dentistry. This factor is because lasers help in nerve and tissue regeneration, thus improving healing time.
• It is cost-effective. Specific procedures take less time and may not cost as much as going the non-laser way.
• It is useful for people with a fear of dental drills and children who cannot keep still. Also, if you have had several dental procedures and are afraid of causing further damage to your dental structure, laser dentistry can help alleviate that problem.
• Since laser intervention doesn’t use scalpel and drills, your gums will not experience the kind of pain associated with these tools.
Like any other medical procedure, before you get laser treatment, you need to get advice from your doctor. Find out the risk factors associated with the process; research and ensure you are eligible, and there can be no adverse effect on your health. More dentists are using laser dentistry, and more people are getting these procedures, which means there is potential for the incorporation of this technology fully in dental services.
The field has developed over the decades and is still getting improvements, hoping that this technology’s challenges and shortcomings will be alleviated to improve applications. More studies are needed for dentists to incorporate this technology in their daily treatment and reduce the necessity for surgical and painful intrusions.