There are a variety of uses for lasers in the field of dentistry. Lasers can be used for cavity removal, teeth whitening, gum reshaping, and to harden bonding materials used in fillings. In addition, lasers are used in periodontal care to remove bacteria from periodontal pockets.
Dental lasers emit light that deliver quick pulses of heat energy to the treatment area. Various wavelengths are used depending on the type of tissue being treated. Surgical lasers are more accurate than traditional dental treatments and allow the dentist to conserve as much bone and tooth as possible.
Laser dentistry can be a precise and effective way to perform many dental procedures. The potential for laser dentistry to improve dental procedures rests in the dentist's ability to control power output and the duration of exposure on the tissue (whether gum or tooth structure), allowing for treatment of a highly specific area of focus without damaging surrounding tissues.
Many dentists have experienced the patient who complains of an unlocateable tooth pain.
Sometimes it is a sharp pain that causes a reflex reaction when chewing or when eating crunchy foods or sweets. In many instances, the most frustrating ones, a radiographic (xray) and clinical examination reveals nothing except healthy teeth with small fillings.
Tiny cracks, fissures or microscopic fractures can occur within a tooth structure that remains hidden from radiographic view.
Here are some of the major benefits associated with laser dentistry:
The application of lasers in dentistry opens the door for dentists to perform a wide variety of dental procedures they otherwise may not be capable of performing
Hard Tissue (Tooth) Laser Dentistry Procedures
Cavity Detector: Low intensity soft tissue dental lasers may be used for the early detection of cavities by providing a reading of the by-products produced by tooth decay.
Dental Fillings/Tooth Preparation: Hard tissue dental lasers may eliminate the need for a local anesthetic injection and the traditional turbine dental drill. Lasers used in dental filling procedures are capable of killing bacteria located in a cavity, potentially leading to improved long term tooth restorations. However, dental lasers are not appropriate for the replacement of amalgam fillings, onlays or crowns.
Tooth Sensitivity: Dental lasers may be used to seal tubules (located on the root of the tooth) that are responsible for hot and cold tooth sensitivity
Soft Tissue (Gum) Laser Dentistry Procedures
Crown Lengthening: Dental lasers can reshape gum tissue (soft tissue laser) and bone (hard tissue laser) to expose healthier tooth structure. Referred to as crown lengthening, such reshaping provides a stronger foundation for the placement of restorations.
Gummy Smile: Dental lasers can reshape gum tissue to expose healthy tooth structure and improve the appearance of a gummy smile. Muscle Attachment (Frenula): A laser frenectomy is an ideal treatment option for children who are tongue tied (restricted or tight frenulum) and babies unable to breast feed adequately due to limited tongue movement. A laser frenectomy may also help to eliminate speech impediments.
Soft Tissue Folds (Epulis):Dental lasers may be used for the painless and suture-free removal of soft tissue folds often caused by ill-fitting dentures.