The space age has arrived. No longer are lasers something that are only used in movies. Increasingly, lasers are finding a niche in many aspects of life, and this includes dentistry.
Laser technology used properly by a skilled dentist means highly specific areas of the mouth and teeth can be treated with minimal pain, without anaesthetics or damage to surrounding tissues, and shorter recovery times.
Unfortunately, the technology is so new that only about 6 percent of general dentists have laser technology available in their offices. For those who are lucky enough to be a patient of one these dentists there are many benefits, particularly for those who experience anxiety at the mere thought of a dental appointment.
The Benefits of Lasers in Dentistry
- can be used on soft tissue (gum) instead of stitches
- may negate the need for local anaesthetic in some treatments
- minimizes bleeding because the laser aids in clotting
- sterilizes sites thereby minimizing infection
- allows faster tissue regeneration and healing
Practical Laser Dentistry
Detecting cavities – Low intensity lasers usually used for soft tissue (gum) can also be used to detect early signs of tooth decay. The lasers can read the effects of the decaying process even before they're deep enough to be visible on an X-ray.
Tooth preparation for fillings – Lasers used for hard tissue or bone eliminate the need for the use of local anaesthetic in many cases, and the traditional dentist’s drill. Imagine the sound of a dentist’s office with no drills! Lasers cannot be used to replace amalgam fillings, onlays or crowns, though.
Sensitive teeth – Sensitive teeth are cause by the reaction of tubules located on tooth roots to hot or cold. Lasers can be used to seal these tubules so they no longer react so strongly to temperature changes.
Inside your teeth – Through the science of Optical Coherence Tomography , dentists can use lasers to safely see inside teeth and gums in real time, providing a more accurate visualization than standard dental X-rays.