Laser dentistry is the use of lasers to treat a number of different dental conditions. It began commercial use in clinical dentistry in 1989 for procedures involving dental tissue.
Compared to drills and other non-laser instruments, laser dentistry offers a potentially more comfortable treatment option for a range of dental procedures involving hard or soft tissue.
LASER stands for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. The instrument creates light energy in a very narrow and focused beam. When this laser light hits the tissue, it creates a reaction, allowing it to remove or shape the tissue.
Laser dentistry is used in a variety of procedures, including:
.dental caries treatment
.treatment of gum disease
Lasers can make dental treatments more efficient, cost-effective and comfortable. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved laser dentistry as a treatment option for a variety of dental diseases.
It is worth noting that the Turkish Dental Association has not yet done so, although they are currently hopeful about the potential of the field.
How are laser treatments done?
The two main types of procedures used for laser dentistry are hard tissue and soft tissue procedures. Hard tissue teeth refer to soft tissue gums.
Common hard tissue procedures include:
Gap detection. Lasers can detect cavities early by finding evidence of tooth decay.
Dental preparations and dental fillings. Local anesthesia and conventional drills are generally not needed in laser treatments. Lasers can kill bacteria in a cavity, which can aid in the long-term health of a tooth.
Treating tooth sensitivity. Teeth sensitive to hot and cold can be treated with dental lasers that close the tubules in the root of the tooth.
Common soft tissue procedures include:
.“Gummy smile” treatment. Lasers are used to reshape the gum tissue associated with the “gummy smile” where the length of the gums covers most of the tooth.
.Crown extension. This process helps to place restorations on teeth by reshaping both gum tissue and bone for healthier tooth structure.
.To treat appendix of tongue frenulum. Those with a thick or tight frenulum (a skin fold under the front of the tongue that is fixed to the floor of the mouth) may benefit from laser frenectomy. This treatment helps children with restricted frenulum, tongue-tie, difficulty breastfeeding or speech difficulties.
.Removal of soft tissue folds. Lasers can remove soft tissue folds from unsuitable prostheses without pain or stitches.
Other laser procedures include:
.View textures. Optical coherence tomography allows the doctor to safely see inside the tooth or gum tissue.
.Removal of benign tumors. Lasers can remove tumors on the palate, gums and lips and cheeks in a painless and seamless method.
.Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Lasers can reshape the throat and relieve associated breathing problems when sleep apnea is caused by tissue overgrowth in the throat.
.TMJ (temporomandibular joint) treatment. Lasers can help reduce pain and inflammation in the joint.
.Nerve regeneration. Lasers can help regenerate damaged blood vessels, nerves, and scars.
.Treating cold sores. Lasers can minimize healing time and reduce pain from cold sores.
.Teeth whitening. Lasers accelerate the whitening process during teeth whitening sessions.
Laser treatments like these can vary in price depending on the procedure performed and the laser equipment used. Since laser treatment is usually completed in fewer sessions, they may be cheaper than non-laser treatment. Additionally, dental insurance often determines reimbursement costs based on the treatment itself, not which method is used.
Therefore, your compensation will be the same as for drilling and other procedures. However, it’s always important to ask about your specific policy upfront to get the most accurate information.
What types of lasers are used?
Dentists use either hard tissue or soft tissue lasers, depending on the treatment. If treatment allows, some will use both types.
Hard tissue lasers can cut tooth structure. The wavelengths are absorbed by a combination of water and a particular mineral found in the teeth. These lasers are mostly used to prepare or shape teeth for composite bonding, repair worn dental fillings and remove some tooth structures.
Benefits of using laser dentistry over other methods:
.With soft tissue lasers, the need for sutures is potentially reduced.
.Since the laser promotes blood clotting, bleeding in the treated soft tissues is minimized.
.In some procedures, anesthesia is unnecessary.
.Bacterial infection is less likely as the laser sterilizes the area.
.Wounds can heal faster and tissue regeneration is possible.
.Procedures may cause less damage to surrounding tissues.
Soft tissue lasers can be absorbed through water and hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells.
These lasers are used in the treatment of periodontitis, including killing bacteria and activating tissue regrowth.
Soft tissue lasers seal nerve endings and blood vessels as they penetrate tissue. For this reason, most of them feel almost no pain after laser treatment. Lasers also allow tissue to heal faster.
What are the risks associated with laser dentistry?
The risks of laser dentistry are relatively small. It is important to find a qualified dentist as using the wrong wavelength or power level can damage tissue. Additionally, some providers are concerned that advertisers are pushing the use of laser therapy beyond what people actually need.
Your dentist will use special glasses for you to protect your eyes from the laser.
To find a qualified dentist for laser therapy, look for a professional who has taken training courses and has received the appropriate training.