What Is A Laser & How Does It Work?
A laser is an instrument that produces a very narrow, intense beam of light energy. When the laser light comes in contact with tissue, it causes a reaction. The light produced by the laser can remove or shape tissue.
Laser dentistry can be a precise and effective way to perform many dental procedures. The potential for laser dentistry to improve dental procedures rests in the dentist's ability to control power output and the duration of exposure on the gum or tooth structure. This allows for treatment of a highly specific area of focus, without damaging surrounding tissues.
Lasers have been used in dentistry since 1990. Lasers can be used as a safe and effective treatment for a wide range of dental procedures and are often used in conjunction with other dental instruments.
Dental lasers can be used to:
• Reduce the discomfort of canker and cold sores.
• Expose partially erupted wisdom teeth.
• Remove muscle attachments that limit proper movement.
• Manage gum tissue during impressions for crowns or other procedures.
• Remove overgrown tissues caused by certain medications.
• Perform biopsy procedures.
• Remove inflamed gum tissues and aid in the treatment of gum disease.
• Remove or reshape gum and bone tissues during crown lengthening procedures.
• Help treat infections in root canals.
• Speed up tooth whitening procedures.
• Procedures performed using soft tissue dental lasers may not require sutures (stitches).
• Certain laser dentistry procedures do not require anesthesia.
• Laser dentistry minimizes bleeding because the high-energy light beam aids in the clotting (coagulation) of exposed blood vessels, thus inhibiting blood loss.
• Bacterial infections are minimized because the high-energy beam sterilizes the area being worked on.
• Damage to surrounding tissue is minimized.
• Wounds heal faster and tissues can be regenerated.
The application of lasers in dentistry opens the door for dentists to perform a wide variety of dental procedures they otherwise may not be capable of performing.
HARD TISSUE (TOOTH) LASER DENTISTRY PROCEDURES
• CAVITY DETECTOR
Low intensity soft tissue dental lasers may be used for the early detection of cavities by providing a reading of the by-products produced by tooth decay.
• TOOTH SENSITIVITY
Dental lasers may be used to seal tubules (located on the root of the tooth) that are responsible for hot and cold tooth sensitivity.
SOFT TISSUE (GUM) LASER DENTISTRY PROCEDURES
• CROWN LENGTHENING
Dental lasers can reshape gum tissue (soft tissue laser) and bone (hard tissue laser) to expose healthier tooth structure. Referred to as crown lengthening, such reshaping provides a stronger foundation for the placement of restorations.
• GUMMY SMILE
Dental lasers can reshape gum tissue to expose healthy tooth structure and improve the appearance of a gummy smile.
• MUSCLE ATTACHMENT (FRENULA)
A laser frenectomy is an ideal treatment option for children who are tongue tied, where the tongue movement is restricted due to tight frenulum attachments. A laser frenectomy may also help to eliminate speech impediments.
• SOFT TISSUE FOLDS (EPULIS)
Dental lasers may be used for the painless and suture-free removal of soft tissue folds often caused by ill-fitting dentures.
OTHER LASER DENTISTRY APPLICATIONS
• VIEWING TOOTH & GUM TISSUES
Optical Coherence Tomography is a safer way to see inside tooth and gums in real time.
• BENIGN TUMOURS
Dental lasers may be used for the painless and suture-free removal of benign tumours from the gums, palate, sides of cheeks, and lips.
• COLD SORES
Low intensity dental lasers reduce pain associated with cold sores and minimise healing time.
Photobiomodulation can be used to regenerate damaged nerves, blood vessels, and scars.
In cases where sleep apnea is a result of a tissue overgrowth in areas of the throat (which sometimes occurs with age), a laser assisted uvuloplasty or laser assisted uvula palatoplasty (LAUP) procedure can be performed to reshape the throat and relieve the correlating breathing problems associated with sleep apnea.
Low intensity soft tissue dental lasers may be used to speed up the bleaching process associated with teeth whitening.
Dental lasers may be used to quickly reduce pain and inflammation of the temporomandibular jaw joint.
Lasers represent an innovative and precise technology for specific hard and soft tissue applications. If you choose a laser dentist, you may find that you feel more comfortable with less anxiety during your treatments.
If the dental laser is used according to accepted practices by a trained practitioner, then it is at least as safe as other dental instruments. However just as you wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from prolonged exposure to the sun, you will be asked to wear special eyeglasses to protect your eyes from the laser when your dentist performs a laser procedure.