If you’ve never heard of this innovative type of dental care, now is the time to learn. Laser dentistry is a minimally invasive option when you’re facing gum surgery, cavity treatment, or other oral issues. So, what is laser dentistry and what happens during the surgery. Discuss your laser surgery options with your dentist today.
What is laser dentistry and What Happens During the Surgery?
Medical professionals use lasers, which are extremely focused light beams, to alter or remove tissue in small amounts. Dentists use lasers in a variety of procedures involving the inside of the mouth, be it to remove overgrown tissue, to reshape the gums, or to whiten teeth. Sometimes, laser dentistry is ideal for children who become anxious or afraid when having dental work done.
Dentists use laser for the following treatments:
- Tooth Decay: Lasers are used to remove decay within a tooth and prepare the surrounding enamel for receipt of the filling.
- Gum Disease: Lasers are used to reshape gums and remove bacteria during root canal procedures.
- Biopsy or Lesion Removal: Lasers can be used to remove a small piece of tissue (called a biopsy) so that it can be examined for cancer. Lasers are also used to remove lesions in the mouth and relieve the pain of canker sores.
- Teeth Whitening: Laser deep cleaning is a convenient solution to speed up in-office teeth whitening procedures. A peroxide bleaching solution, applied to the tooth surface, is ”activated” by laser energy, which speeds up of the whitening process.
What Happens During Laser Gum Surgery or Other Dentistry?
When you come for your laser dentistry appointment, you might be surprised to discover that the process is very similar to other dentistry appointments, like tooth fillings. You receive anesthesia, though it might not be as much as you’re used to receiving. Some patients who experience anxiety might receive a sedative, too. During the procedure, you won’t feel any vibrations or discomfort from the laser like you do from the drill. Any bleeding that occurs gets wiped away, just like before. Your mouth will be propped open as the dentist works with the laser to treat your issues.
A non-surgical laser gum treatment is a minimally invasive procedure that is much safer and less painful – and the patient heals much faster. Non-surgical laser gum treatments use laser light to selectively remove the diseased, inflamed gum tissue, and leave the healthy gum tissue alone.
In laser periodontal therapy, the provider uses a dental laser to access and remove the inflamed gum tissue from around the root of the tooth. When the infected tissue is removed and the root is exposed, the root scaling begins. This involves scraping off the calculus and plaque built up below the gumline and around the root. The dentist then smooths the root with instruments to remove any rough spots that might attract bacteria and cause future infections. The area between the gum and the root can then regenerate during the healing process.
How Do Lasers Work in Dentistry?
Lasers zap cavities with an invisible light beam and are very conservative and precise, allowing a filling to be placed there. Yes, it’s awesome. It’s also the most precise way to fix a cavity, which means that dentists don’t have to remove as much of the healthy tooth as they do when using a drill. Water-based laser systems like WaterLase keep the tooth hydrated throughout the procedure to reduce pain even further.
Instead of needles and drills, laser dentistry uses water, air and light to treat cavities. (Seriously!) That’s why the procedure is less painful and why our patients love it so much. If your kids “coincidentally” happen to have an appointment on the same day as a science test, laser treatment can have them ready to go back after lunch and ace – or, at least, take – that test.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a Laser in Dentistry?
There are several benefits to using lasers in dentistry including:
- Reduced bleeding and swelling
- More painless procedures
- Reduced risk for bacterial infection
- Greater precision
- Quicker healing time
- Lasers may cause less pain in some instances, so it reduces the need for anesthesia
- Laser cavity removal preserve more healthy tooth
- Lasers cannot be used on teeth that already have a filling
- Lasers cannot fill cavities between teeth, around fillings, or large areas of decay
- Cannot remove defective crowns or bridge
- Lasers do not eliminate the need for anesthesia
- Laser treatment tends to be more expensive — the cost of the laser is much higher than a dental drill
The Types of Lasers Used in Dentistry
The two main types of lasers dentists use during laser procedures are hard tissue and soft tissue lasers. Each laser uses a different wavelength that makes it appropriate for cutting into that specific type of tissue. This works because each kind of tissue absorbs wavelengths of light in different ways. By altering the light’s wavelength (and sometimes pulse) scientists have figured out how to craft lasers with light wavelengths compatible with the tissues in your mouth.
1. Hard Tissue Lasers
A hard tissue laser is used primarily for your teeth. The wavelength of one of these lasers cuts through both water and bone, specifically the calcium phosphate that’s in your bones and your teeth. These lasers can very accurately cut into your teeth, removing small amounts for shaping purposes or in preparation for procedures. Hard tissue lasers are used for:
- Detecting cavities.
- Dealing with tooth sensitivity.
- Preparing teeth for dental fillings.
2. Soft Tissue Lasers
The soft tissue lasers use a light wavelength that hemoglobin and water absorb easily. Hemoglobin is the molecule found in blood, which makes soft tissue lasers ideal for gum work. Some soft tissue lasers are diode lasers, which is a type of continuous-wave laser.
These lasers are ideal for cutting into soft tissue and sealing the exposed blood vessels at the same time. This is the reason you don’t bleed very much during laser dentistry and why healing is quicker after laser dentistry. Soft tissue lasers are great for cosmetic procedures because you can begin to see results right away. Soft tissue lasers are used for:
- Lengthening crowns.
- Dealing with restricted tongue movement.
- Reshaping the gums to create a more pleasing smile.
- Removing folds in oral soft tissues caused by dentures.
Whether you’re having laser gum surgery or hard tissue work, expect an easier procedure and a shorter recovery time. Laser dentistry is a convenient solution to many oral and dental problems, whether serious in nature or simply cosmetic. Ask your dentist about laser dentistry the next time you need dental work completed.