Laser technology has been used in the field of dentistry over the past two decades to treat a number of oral and dental problems.
The US health watchdog, Food and Drug Administration, has approved several types of lasers for both hard tissue (teeth) and soft tissue (gums) treatments. This FDA-approved technology has not yet earned seal of acceptance from the American Dentist Association (ADA).
Most dentists use lasers as a treatment option for oral health issues, including tooth decay and gum problems, as well as common skin problems like lesion removal. More recently, dentists have expanded the use of laser in cosmetic dentistry procedures.
What is Laser Dentistry?
Laser dentistry, as the name implies, is a type of dental treatment that utilizes a high-energy beam to address issues related to soft oral tissues and teeth. A Laser is a high-tech instrument that works by emitting energy in the form of amplified light. This intense beam of light energy is released at different wavelengths and intensity of the light is adjusted based upon the targets including gum tissue, enamel, decayed teeth, and teeth bleaching.
In dentistry, lasers can be used to:
• Treat gum diseases
• Remove or reshape gum and bone tissues
• Eliminate the discomfort of apthous ulcers (canker sores)
• Reduce discomfort during root canal surgery
• Effectively whiten the dentition
• Treat cavities
• Lengthen crowns
• Expose the partially erupted wisdom teeth
• Remove overgrown tissues and inflamed gum tissues
• Speed up in-office dentistry procedures
Dental lasers are considered to be exceptionally safe and effective, with many dentists now considering lasers to be even safer than other treatment methods.
Experts in the dentistry field use lasers in conjunction with other dental instruments to carry out a wide range of procedures, ranging from oral hygiene to cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Tooth Filling: Lasers remove bacteria and tooth decay for receipt of the filling. Due to their high-energy nature, lasers can more abundantly harden the filling.
Early Detection of Tooth Cavity: The dentist may also utilize a low-intensity laser to identify early signs of decay within teeth.
Teeth Whitening: One of the most popular uses of laser technology in dentistry is tooth bleaching. For teeth whitening, a peroxide bleaching solution is applied to the tooth surface, and then it is activated by the low-intensity laser beam which helps the solution break down stains on the teeth quickly. The laser light accelerates the tooth whitening process.
Lesion Removal or Biopsy: Lasers are also used to perform a biopsy (removal of a small piece of tissue for cancer determination). Lasers can also be used to remove lesions found on the gum tissue and relieve the pain of canker sores.
Gum Disorders: Lasers are widely used to reshape gums and eliminate excess gum tissue. They can also be utilized to remove bacteria during root canal procedures. Likewise, lasers can easily and effectively correct the folds in soft tissue, often caused by ill-fitting dentures, without the requirement for stitches (sutures).
Cold Sore and Tooth Sensitivity: Lasers can be used in order to decrease and/or eliminate the uncomfortable tooth sensitivity to hot and cold food or drinks. A laser beam can effectively seal dentinal tubules, as well as treat painful and annoying cold sores (also called fever blisters).
Dentists use different types of lasers to address different oral and dental health issues. All laser techniques work by delivering energy in the form of visible or invisible light. In dentistry procedures, laser acts as a cutting tool, vaporizer, strengthening tool, or heat source.
Laser dentistry procedures have proven to be more precise, less invasive, take less time to complete, yield less pain, and eliminates the need of stitches (sutures) or anesthesia. Since the laser-assisted dental procedures are less invasive and result in less bleeding, the patient experiences less pain and heals faster.