The term LASER stands for “light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation.” The laser instruments used by dentists create a narrow and focused beam of light designed to react to specific tissue. Each laser instrument produces different wavelengths to target specific tissue. For example, soft tissue lasers target gum and soft tissue, such as the gums, while hard tissue lasers target hard tissue, such as teeth and bone.
When you come in for a laser dental treatment, you will find your appointment begins similarly to traditional dental treatments. You may receive anesthesia or a sedative, though at a much lower amount than required for traditional treatment. You will not experience the vibrations and discomfort you experience with traditional dental drills and, in most cases, you will experience little to no pain or discomfort. Laser treatments are often much quicker and more economical than traditional dental procedures and offer other additional benefits.
In addition to reduced or eliminated pain during dental procedures, laser dentistry offers a wide variety of benefits for patients which include; No need for anesthesia with some procedures, Reduced risk of bacterial infections – the use of lasers sterilizes the area as it treats, Decreased need for sutures with some procedures, Minimal bleeding as the laser promotes blood clotting, Faster healing times Less post-procedure pain and swelling, less damage to the surrounding tissue – the focused light produced by lasers allow the dentist to focus on damaged tissue while leaving healthy tissue untouched, Reduced anxiety and increased comfort – for many people, the sound of a dental drill is enough to keep them from the dentist. Laser treatments are quiet and relatively pain-free, helping patients feel more comfortable and relaxed during treatment, Reduced the need for medications and antibiotics after treatment, Dentist using a modern diode dental laser.
When it comes to laser dentistry, certain lasers focus on the treatment of the teeth while others focus on the treatment of gums and soft tissue. The differences between the lasers depend on their wavelength and the type of tissue they target. For example, the light wavelengths used by soft tissue lasers are easily absorbed by hemoglobin and water, making them ideal for gum and tissue treatment. In contrast, the wavelengths used with hard tissue lasers work with the calcium phosphate salt in your teeth and bones, making them ideal for specific procedures of the teeth. The specific dental work you require will determine the type of laser your dentist uses.
Hard tissue lasers use wavelengths that are absorbed through water and the calcium phosphate salt inside the tooth or bone. Dentists use these lasers to cut this hard tissue. Hard lasers reduce the need for anesthesia for procedures such as fillings. Common procedures that use hard lasers include: Prepare and shape teeth before composite bonding, Repair worn-out or damaged fillings, Remove minor amounts of tooth structure, Treating teeth sensitivity – sensitivity to hot and cold is the result of the open tub
The wavelengths in soft tissue lasers are easily absorbed by hemoglobin (a molecule found in the blood) and water. This makes them ideal for treating gum issues as they can cut into soft tissue while simultaneously sealing exposed blood vessels. This helps to reduce bleeding and reduce your healing time. In addition, laser treatments effectively kill bacteria in the mouth, reducing your risk of infection after treatment. Common procedures performed with soft lasers include:
Gum disease – the traditional treatment for mild to severe gum disease can include scaling and root planning to remove plaque and tartar as well as bone grafting or soft tissue grafting. Laser gum surgery eliminates these procedures as the laser can remove inflamed or dead tissue while killing bacteria.
In addition to soft and hard laser treatment options, laser dentistry has other applications. Specific lasers can help you avoid dental x-rays and their associated risks by identifying tooth decay before it is visible to the naked eye. Your dentist can then treat tooth decay with hard and soft tissue treatments.
Laser whitening is another laser dental option commonly used to help brighten and improve your smile. After your dentist places whitening gel on your teeth, lasers help speed up the process and produce much whiter and brighter results.
Lasers have also made a big difference when it comes to crowns, veneers, and bridges. Laser CAD/CAM technology allows your dentist to produce more precise teeth impressions, making the procedures much more comfortable for patients.