What is a laser?
A laser is an instrument that produces a narrow beam of light energy. The light produced by the laser can remove, vaporize or shape tissue.
How are lasers used in dentistry?
Lasers can be used for many procedures in dentistry, including, but not limited to:
• Managing gum tissue during impressions
• Reshaping excess gum tissue during crown lengthening procedures
• Removing inflamed gum tissue and sterilizing gum pockets to improve attachment, reducing the risk of bone loss in periodontal patients
• Treatment of sensitivity to cold and hot due to gum recession
• Reducing discomfort and duration of cold sores and canker sores, and limiting recurrence in that same location
• Removing tight muscle pulls in certain areas of the mouth, which may lead to gum issues (recession) or diastemas (spaces between the teeth, especially noted between the two front teeth)
• Performing biopsy procedures
• Sterilizing teeth during root canal procedures
• Correcting speech problems caused by “tongue-tie,” which prevents normal tongue movement
• Uncovering partially erupted wisdom teeth
Is laser dentistry safe?
When used by a trained practitioner, the laser is as safe as other dental instruments. Just as you wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from prolonged exposure to the sun, you will be asked to wear special glasses to protect your eyes from the laser.
What are the advantages of laser dentistry?
There are several advantages to laser dentistry:
• The dentist may not need to administer anesthesia, allowing the patient to have a more relaxed procedure
• Lasers can reduce the symptoms and healing times associated with traditional therapies, i.e. less post op pain and sensitivity
• Less chance of post op infection
• Less need to be referred out of the office to specialists
• Reduced time in the dentist chair and less number of visits to achieve the same results
• Minimal bleeding during surgical procedures, reducing pain, swelling and the need for sutures
Who are the best candidates for laser dentistry?
There are no contraindications for laser dentistry. At any age, laser dentistry can help to reduce anxiety toward dental procedures and minimize discomfort.