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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.

1. How Are Lasers Used In Dentistry?

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.

2. What Are The Benefits Of Using Dental Lasers?

• 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.

3. Application Of Laser Dentistry

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.

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.
Dental lasers may be used to seal tubules (located on the root of the tooth) that are responsible for hot and cold tooth sensitivity.

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.

Dental lasers can reshape gum tissue to expose healthy tooth structure and improve the appearance of a gummy smile.

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.

Dental lasers may be used for the painless and suture-free removal of soft tissue folds often caused by ill-fitting dentures.

Optical Coherence Tomography is a safer way to see inside tooth and gums in real time.

Dental lasers may be used for the painless and suture-free removal of benign tumours from the gums, palate, sides of cheeks, and lips.

Low intensity dental lasers reduce pain associated with cold sores and minimise healing time.

4. Nerve Regeneration

Photobiomodulation can be used to regenerate damaged nerves, blood vessels, and scars.

5. Sleep Apnea

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.

6. Teeth Whitening

Low intensity soft tissue dental lasers may be used to speed up the bleaching process associated with teeth whitening.

7. Temporomandibular Joint Treatment

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.

8. Are Dental Lasers Safe?

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.

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