Laser dentistry first started in the 60’s and has been developing every since. More and more dentists are starting to use lasers in their practices. Lasers act as a method of cutting or destroying tissue, in the case of dentistry they can cut into teeth, gum, and bone.
Laser Dentistry Applications
- Remove tooth decay: lasers can remove tooth decay and get the enamel of a tooth ready for a filling. It can remove bacteria from gums and reshape them.
- Teeth Whitening: they’re also commonly used in teeth whitening procedures: after a peroxide bleaching solution is put on the teeth, the solution is then activated by the laser, which makes the whitening occur faster.
- Painless procedures: lasers are becoming more popular because they usually result in less painful procedures, which also lessens anxiety in patients who may be afraid of going to the dentist altogether. They also cause minimal bleeding and swelling, and preserves more healthy tooth when a cavity is filled.
Types of Dental Lasers
There are hard tissue lasers and soft tissue lasers.
Hard tissue lasers operate on a wavelength that is very absorbable by the calcium phosphate salt found in our bones and teeth, making it easier for these lasers to cut through these materials. These lasers are often used to prepare teeth for cavities or removing small parts of tooth. Soft tissue lasers have a wavelength that is absorbed by water and hemoglobin (the substance that carries oxygen throughout our blood), making it easy for it to cut through soft tissue like gums. Many of these soft tissue lasers can also kill bacteria and stimulate the growth of tissue. These lasers also seal blood vessels and nerve endings while it’s cutting through them, making for a faster recovery time. Hard tissue laser procedures include teeth fillings, some of which may not need an anesthetic. These lasers cannot be used to replace old fillings or crowns. Hard tissue lasers can also seal tubules on the root of a tooth that is the cause of hot or cold sensitivity.
Soft tissue laser procedures include reshaping gum tissue and bone to help expose the healthy part of a tooth that provides a better foundation for tooth restoration procedures. Reshaping gum tissue can also help improve the appearance of a “gummy smile” where the ratio of gum to tooth is uneven. These lasers can also help remove tissue in people with restricted tongue movement, or the removal of excess tissue that is caused by poorly-fitted dentures.
Lasers can also help remove benign tumors, reduce the pain of cold sores, and help relieve some of the pain and inflammation associated with temporomandibular joint syndrome.
If you would like more information on how we use lasers here at LB Dental to better serve our patients, please give us a call today at 602-482-5100.