Just as the precision of lasers has been tapped to perform surgeries and improve the appearance of the skin, lasers have also been tapped to help dentists more effectively treat their patients. Laser dentistry has existed since the early 1990s to treat myriad dental problems.
What is a Laser and What Does it Do?
Lasers are high-tech instruments that create super narrow, targeted, focused intense beams of light. This high-focus light has tremendous energy. When it is directed at an object, it zaps away part of that object’s mass instantaneously. Quick, efficient, and highly targeted, lasers are used in medicine, manufacturing … and dentistry.
What Dental Procedures Benefit from Lasers?
Lasers, particularly when they are used along with other dental instruments, can help with a wide array of dental issues. Here’s what they can do:
- vaporize skin covering partially-erupted wisdom teeth
- curtail gum overgrowth
- treat oral infections
- remove inflamed tissues to prevent gum disease
- obtain biopsies quickly
- relieve pain associated with cold and canker sores
- shape gum tissue to be more aesthetically pleasing
- aid in teeth whitening
Why Do Dentists Choose to Reach for a Laser Rather Than a Scalpel?
One of the biggest benefits of laser dentistry is that it generates less bleeding than traditional surgeries. Healing times associated with laser dentistry procedures are much quicker than they are with traditional incision-based procedures. Because lasers are so quick and efficient, they are associated with far fewer instances of bacterial infection. Additionally, many patients are very anxious about visiting the dentist. The sound of a drill or the sight of a needle that will deliver a numbing agent can cause extreme stress in many patients. When dentists use a laser for certain procedures, they are able to forego the drill and the shot. Laser dental treatments increase the comfort and reduce the anxiety in dental patients.
Is it Safe?
Dental laser treatment is safe, especially when used by a dentist who is Academy of Laser Dentistry (ALD) accredited. Laser manufacturers also provide training to users of their proprietary technologies. Because laser light is so intense, dental patients undergoing a laser treatment should always wear protective glasses to make sure their eyes are not damaged by the laser. Most people probably don’t equate dentistry to cutting-edge technology. In the case of laser dentistry, they absolutely should!