Laser dentistry is a method of treatment in various dental conditions involving hard tissue as well as soft tissues. It has been known for many years now but in 1989, it stared to be used in clinical dentistry, for dealing with dental tissues with laser beams.
What is a laser beam?
LASER is an acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emissions”. The laser beam is a narrow and focused light energy. This light energy is capable of creating reactions in tissues resulting in getting the desired result in shaping or removing the tissue.
Where is laser dentistry used?
Laser dentistry is now used in many areas of practice in dentistry like, orthodontics-dental structures related to face, endodontics-pathology of the inner structures of teeth, oral medicine and pathology-oral health care and oral pathology, paediatric dentistry-dental care of young and school going children, periodontics-Treatment of supporting tissues of teeth, prosthodontics- reconstruction of natural teeth or replacing missing or lost teeth, Cosmetic dentistry- treating to enhance physical appeal of the teeth, and special needs dentistry.
Type of lasers used in dentistry
The types of lasers used in dentistry are of two kinds. Hard tissue lasers and soft tissue lasers are used by dentists according to need. Teeth are considered hard dental tissue and all other parts in the mouth like gums, tongue, inner cheeks, upper and lower palette are considered soft tissues.
What specific areas of dental treatment are open to laser treatment?
The following are some of the important applications of laser treatment.
Viewing inside of the teeth and gums
The narrow laser beam allows the dentist to view the inside of the tooth to check how much damage has been caused by bacteria, or they can check if after the injury to the tooth is serious enough to call for removal of tooth and so on.
Dental caries or cavities
The dentist can check how deep the cavities are, how many cavities are there, and the need for root canal treatment.
Preparation for dental fillings
Laser treatment allows for the dentist for preparing the tooth for the filling, without the need for local anaesthesia and drilling the tooth for the dental filling.
Laser beam allows the dentist to check the layer of tooth enamel and how far the pulp and dentin have advanced to make the teeth sensitive. Teeth become sensitive because tiny tubules in the root get exposed to sense the heat and cold. The laser beam can seal the tubules on the root of the tooth.
Greater areas of gums on the teeth
Some people have a larger part of gums covering their teeth which makes their smile gummy. The laser beam can get the gums to desired size and make the smile appealing.
Reshaping the crown
Some people have longer or shorted crowns, which can be corrected by reshaping the gums, and structuring the jaw bone according to length of the tooth.
Removal of extra skin on the dentures
Sometimes the dentures have overgrowth of dental skin over them, which becomes painful and unsightly. Laser can remove this extra skin in lesser time than traditional methods.
Tongue frenulum attachment
Tongue frenulum refers to the part of the tongue which attaches the root of the mouth to the tongue. Some children have this part very tight which restricts their speech and may hinder feeding. The laser can correct this condition by loosening the frenulum.
Treating mouth sores
Laser treatment can treat mouth sores of many kinds without pain.
Teeth whitening can be done with laser beams which helps in evenly distributing the whitening chemical on the teeth with less time and effort.
Advantages of using laser treatment over other traditional methods
Laser treatments are usually more efficient and faster. It is also less painful and reduces bleeding in the parts of the teeth concerned.
Bleeding is reduced to the minimum because laser beam works with sealing the area as it proceeds. Therefore, laser allows for reduced necessities for sutures. And hence the procedure becomes less painful. The bleeding is reduced because laser encourages blood clotting. Since there is less pain, the need for anaesthesia is minimal.
The laser cleans the area efficiently therefore bacterial infection arises rarely.
Because bacterial infections are kept minimum with laser treatment, it is helpful for regenerating tissues, and due to increased regeneration of tissues, the wound heals faster.
Laser is a thin narrow beam of light; it is focused on the area which is needed to be treated. This highly focused treatment allows for the neighbouring areas kept safe. They are not affected by the treatment and it gets over sooner.
As the treatment goes on, the laser keep sealing the nerve endings as it progresses further, which stops bleeding and the person experiences no pain resulting in happier state of mind which boosts healing.
Laser dentistry is very fruitful for people with anxiety about the dentist and the dentist’s chair. Since laser is quicker and more efficient, the fears and anxieties of these people can be controlled.
Laser can be used only on natural teeth. It cannot be used on teeth which has metal or amalgam fillings.
Very rarely, hard lasers harm tooth pulp
If there issues in the neighbouring areas, the laser treatment cannot be performed.
Also, if there are other medical conditions, laser may not be advised.
If you are advised by your dentist to opt for laser dentistry, it is advisable to find out whether your health policy allows for the cost. Although laser may look more costly, in effect it may cut down costs because it is more efficient and therefore you will require less sittings in the dentits’s office than with traditional methods.
And moreover, the benefit of less bleeding, no anaesthesia and faster treatment should be enough incentive to go for laser treatment.
With laser treatment, as with traditional treatment , good oral hygiene routine should be kept, which goes without saying. Regular brushing and flossing is a must for all dental care treatments.
Even with laser treatment it is very important to keep your appointments with dentist with regularity.