Laser dentistry is one of the most advanced dental treatments today. A laser uses focused light energy with a stream of water for a highly precise, exceptionally gentle dental experience. The laser allows your dentist to perform a wide range of procedures with benefits including:
- Faster healing time and less trauma to teeth and gums.
- Less pain in many instances, reducing the need for anesthetic for procedures.
- Reduces anxiety in patients who are uncomfortable with the use of a needle or dental drill.
- Making dental care a more relaxing experience for you.
- Minimizes bleeding and swelling during soft tissue treatments.
- Laser precision helps the dentist preserve healthy tooth structure during cavity removal.
History of Dental Lasers
The first laser was developed in 1960 based on the theorized concept of stimulated emission by Albert Einstein in 1917. Medical and dental researchers have been developing practical applications ever since.
Dental reasearchers first reported in 1965 that a ruby laser could vaporize enamel. However, the thermal effects of continuous wave lasers at that time would damage the pulp. Other wavelengths were studied over the ensuing decades for both hard and soft tissue applications. In 1990 the first pulsed Nd:YAG laser designed specifically for the dental market was released. The year 1997 saw the FDA clearance of the first true dental hard tissue Er:YAG laser and the Er,Cr:YSGG a year later. Semiconductor based diode lasers emerged in the late 1990s as well.
How Lasers Work
An Er,Cr:YSGG laser works by exciting water molecules and other molecules found in bone and teeth. A diode laser works by specific attraction to pigments in inflamed tissue. We use each of these in our office for many different procedures and applications.
The Er,Cr:YSGG has been found to cause far less discomfort for patients during cavity removal. There are several factors that contribute to this. Unlike with a dental drill, there is no heat or vibration. There is no contact with the tooth or pressure. From a biological perspective, it works by staying below the nerve threshold. Each pulse of the laser lasts just 50 millionths of a second where a nerve impulse takes one thousandth of a second.
Dental Laser Procedures
Contouring or shaping your gums using a laser to improve the appearance of your smile – safely removing excess gum tissue that may give you a “gummy” smile, or make your front teeth appear irregular in size or shape.
Removal of Oral Growths
Quickly and safely remove growths or excess tissue in your mouth including gum tissue over an unerupted tooth, small “tags” called papilla, and growths called fibromas.
Treatment of Cold Sores and Canker Sores
We can treat cold sores and canker sores with only topical anesthetic. For canker sores, the laser forms a sort of natural bandage to eliminate pain immediately. Cold Sores usually disappear the following day, especial when treated early. The procedure takes only a few minutes and we are happy to fit you into our schedule at your first sign of a problem.
REMOVAL of A FRENUM: “TONGUE TIE” or “LOW FRENUM”
Connections under the tongue that restrict the movement of your tongue can cause speech and eating problems in children. When located on the outer part of your gums it can cause spreading of the teeth or early gum recession. These tissues can be “released” more quickly and with less post-operative pain using a laser.
Treatment of Periodontal Disease
We use lasers to remove debris and bacteria between your teeth and gums that can cause bleeding gums, gum recession and even loss of teeth. For moderate to severe gum disease and periimplantitis, we provide REPAIR minimally invasive periodontal treatment.
The dental experiences children have when they are young may affect their willingness to seek dental care for the rest of their lives. A good experience for all children is a high priority in dentistry. All of the previously mentioned procedures can be performed safely on children. Children with a tongue-tie, low frenum, operculum, or overgrown gums after orthodontic treatment can be treated with minimal or no bleeding and a quick recovery time. Since, restorative dentistry can often be performed without anesthetic or drills, behavioral management improves and your child may have a far better experience.
When we use a dental laser as an adjunct to root canal treatments, extensive studies have shown a much improved removal of debris and disinfection of the root canals. When the laser energy is applied to the root canal system it sends a wave through the irrigation solution, propagating the solution throughout the three-dimensional root canal system and into the tiny canals that are hard for dentists to otherwise reach. This less invasive technique allows the dentist to be less aggressive in the filing and shaping the canals, leaving more of your natural tooth in tact.
Lasers have have biostimulative properties that can be used to promote healing, bone and tissue regeneration, and promote post-operative comfort. For patients who have taken bisphsophonates and are at increased risk for osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), bone surgery done with laser have a reduced risk. ONJ occurs because the bisphosphonate drugs reduce osteoclastic activity in the bone and since that activity is needed to heal from surgical manipulation, ONJ can occur. When bone is manipulated with laser, the bone is minimally traumatized and so less osteoclast activity is needed in the bone for proper healing. Recent studies have shown the laser surgery of the bone results in better outcomes than traditional surgical approaches.
There are so many other applications for lasers in dentistry. These are just a few common ones. We welcome and appreciate your questions. If you have interest in learning more, please call and schedule a free consultation.