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Laser Dentistry

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laser dentistry

laser dentistry

Laser dentistry is the use of lasers to treat a number of different dental conditions. It became commercially used in clinical dental practice for procedures involving tooth tissue.

Laser dentistry potentially offers a more comfortable treatment option for a number of dental procedures involving hard or soft tissue compared to drills and other non-laser tools.

 The LASER instrument creates light energy in a very narrow and focused beam. This laser light produces a reaction when it hits tissue, allowing it to remove or shape the tissue.

Laser dentistry is used in a variety of procedures, including:

  • treating hypersensitivity
  • treating tooth decay
  • treating gum disease
  • whitening teeth

Lasers can make dental treatments more efficient, cost-effective, and comfortable. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved laser dentistry as a treatment option for several dental conditions.

How are laser treatments performed?

The two main types of procedures used for laser dentistry are hard tissue and soft tissue procedures. Hard tissue refers to the teeth, and soft tissue refers to the gums.

Common hard tissue procedures include:

  • Cavity detection. Lasers can detect cavities early by finding evidence of tooth decay.
  • Tooth preparations and dental fillings. Local anesthesia and traditional drills are often not needed with laser treatments. Lasers can kill bacteria in a cavity, which can aid in the long-term health of a tooth.
  • Treating tooth sensitivity. Teeth that have sensitivity to hot and cold can be treated with dental lasers that seal tubules on the tooth’s root.

Common soft tissue procedures include:

  • Treating a “gummy smile.” Lasers are used to reshape gum tissue associated with a “gummy smile,” in which the gums’ length covers much of the tooth.
  • Crown Lengthening. This procedure reshapes both gum tissue and bone for healthier tooth structure, which helps with placing restorations on the teeth.
  • Treating tongue frenulum attachment. Those with a thick or tight frenulum (the fold of skin under the front part of the tongue that anchors to the mouth floor) may benefit from a laser frenectomy. This treatment helps children whose restricted frenulum causes them to be tongue-tied, have difficulty breastfeeding, or have a speech impediment.
  • Removing soft tissue folds. Lasers can remove soft tissue folds from ill-fitting dentures without pain or sutures.

Other laser procedures include:

  • Viewing tissues. Optical coherence tomography allows a doctor to safely see inside a tooth or gum tissue.
  • Removing benign tumors. Lasers can remove tumors from the palate, gums, and sides of the lips and cheeks through pain- and suture-free methods.
  • Treating obstructive sleep apnea. Lasers can reshape the throat and relieve associated breathing problems when sleep apnea is caused by tissue overgrowth in the throat.
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint) treatment. Lasers can help reduce pain and inflammation in the joint.
  • Nerve regeneration. Lasers can help regenerate damaged blood vessels, nerves, and scars.
  • Treating cold sores. Lasers can minimize healing time and reduce pain from cold sores.
  • Teeth whitening. Lasers speed up the bleaching process during teeth-whitening sessions.

 

Benefits of using laser dentistry over other methods

  • There is potentially a decreased need for sutures with soft tissue lasers.
  • Bleeding is minimized in treated soft tissues, as the laser promotes blood clotting.
  • With some procedures, anesthesia is unnecessary.
  • The chance for bacterial infections is lower because the laser sterilizes the area.
  • Wounds can heal faster, and it’s possible for tissue to regenerate.
  • The procedures may involve less damage to the surrounding tissues.

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