LASER DENTISTRY

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Laser dentistry is a type of restorative dentistry where laser energy is used to carry out several different dental treatments. Laser dentistry has been used for a number of dental treatments since the mid-1900s. Compared to dental drills, laser dentistry offers more comfortable dental treatments for a number of dental procedures.

A laser is an instrument that generates light energy in a very focused and narrow beam. This laser light creates a reaction when it comes in contact with tissue. The tissue can either be removed or reshaped.

Laser procedures can be used in a number of dental procedures, which include:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Gum disease treatment
  • Tooth decay treatment
  • Hypersensitivity treatment

Laser procedures can make dental treatments more comfortable, cost-effective, and efficient. Laser procedures are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as dental treatments for a number of dental conditions.

How Laser Treatments Are Performed?

Laser treatments follow two main types of laser procedures, which are hard tissue lasers procedures and soft tissue lasers procedures. Hard tissue procedures refer to the teeth, while the soft tissue lasers procedures refer to the gums.

Hard tissue procedures include:

  • Tooth sensitivity treatment: treatment of a tooth with high sensitivity to cold and hot with dental lasers that seal tubules in the root of the tooth.
  • Dental fillings and tooth preparations: during tooth preparations and dental filling procedures, dental lasers can be used to kill bacteria in a cavity, this would improve the oral health of the tooth. During laser treatments, both traditional dental drills and local anesthesia are not needed.
  • Cavity detection: dental lasers can be used to detect an early incidence of cavities.

Soft tissue procedures include:

  • Soft tissue folds removal: dental lasers can be used to remove soft tissue folds from dentures without sutures, pain, and
  • Frenula treatment: some patients have tight or restricted frenula (the muscle or fold of skin beneath the tongue). Such people may benefit from laser treatments. This laser treatment is helpful for children whose tight frenula have caused them to have a speech impediment, to have difficulty breastfeeding, or to be tongue-tied.
  • Crown lengthening: laser procedures can be used to reshape gums and jawbones for a healthier tooth structure.
  • Gummy smile treatment: dental lasers can also be used to reshape gum tissue that causes a gummy smile. This is the case where the gum tissues cover much of the tooth.

Other laser procedures include:

  • Teeth whitening.
  • Cold sores treatment
  • Nerve regeneration.
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint) treatment.
  • Sleep apnea treatment
  • Benign tumors removal.
  • Viewing tissues.

Using laser procedures for these dental treatments are generally not as expensive as using traditional dental treatments. In fact, laser procedures are far less expensive because the laser treatments are normally completed within fewer sessions. However, it is very important that you consult with your dentist or a dental professional near you to ask specific questions about laser treatments and if you are eligible for it beforehand.

Benefits of Using Laser Procedures

  • Laser procedures cause less damage to the surrounding gum tissues.
  • Laser procedures are associated with faster healing time, hence dental lasers cause wounds to heal faster, and cause tissues to regenerate.
  • Dental laser sterilizes the area, hence reducing the chances for bacterial infections.
  • Laser procedures do not require giving anesthesia to the patient.
  • Laser procedures promote blood clotting, hence bleeding is minimized.
  • Laser procedures, especially soft tissue lasers decrease the need for sutures.

Shortcomings of Laser Procedures

  • Laser procedures cannot be used to prepare the teeth for dental bridges or to remove dental fillings and dental crowns.
  • Some certain dental procedures cannot be carried out with dental lasers. These include cavity fillings, preparing large cavities for a dental crown, etc.
  • Sometimes to complete fillings, drills may still be needed, such as in polishing the filling, adjusting the bite, and shaping the filling, etc.
  • Some dental lasers require anesthesia.
  • In some cases, hard tissue lasers may injure the tooth pulp.
  • Laser procedures cannot be used on teeth that already have dental fillings.

Dental Treatments That Laser Procedures Can Be Used For

Dental lasers are mostly used for gum related dental treatments. Some of these include:

  • Removing benign oral tumors.
  • Regenerating damaged nerves.
  • Removing throat tissue that causes sleep apnea.
  • Gum reshaping.
  • Removing gum inflammation.
  • Treating gum disease.
  • Treating root canal infections.
  • Canker sore and cold sore pain treatments.
  • Exposing wisdom teeth.

What Happens During Laser Procedures?

Foremost, ensure that you are consulting a professional dentist for your laser procedures. When you visit your dentist for laser dentistry, don’t be surprised that the process is not different from that of other dental procedure, such as dental fillings. If necessary, you would be given anesthesia, but this would not be as much dose as you would receive in other dental treatments. If you are someone who experiences so much anxiety, you might be given a sedative too.

During the laser procedure, you wouldn’t feel any discomfort or vibrations from the laser light like you normally feel during dental drills. And any bleeding that occurs would quickly wipe away. Your mouth would be held open as long as the dentist works on it with the laser light to treat your teeth or gum tissues.

What to Expect After Laser Procedures?

After undergoing a laser procedure, you should expect your post-laser surgery experience to be rather smooth. Since laser procedures cause less bleeding than traditional dental treatments, expect less pain and inflammation. More so, you wouldn’t have any open or bleeding wound as you would with traditional dental procedures when you get home.

You’re less likely to contract an infection after laser procedures, though you still have to carefully follow the normal oral care and cleaning instructions.

Also, post-laser surgery is associated with minor irritation, so you shouldn’t experience much discomfort, pain, and inflammation like in the traditional dental treatments.

Laser dentistry is an affordable and convenient solution to a number of dental problems. Ask your dental professional today about laser dentistry and if it is right for you.

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