A laser is a device, where a beam of light is emitted through optical amplification. Today laser technology is used in many consumer products and services. For example, barcode scanners use laser technology to process the information on barcode. In medical fields like ophthalmology, the eye surgery for better vision called is done with lasers. A laser is a very intensely focused light beam which can perform multiple tasks intended for it.
In dentistry, dental surgeons use laser beams to perform a variety of functions like removing overgrown tissues in the mouth, reshaping the gums, and whitening teeth in addition to many other dental procedures.
Types of lasers used for dental tissues
There are various kinds of lasers that are used for a variety of procedures, depending on specific needs. In dentistry, the dental surgeons use hard tissue and soft tissue lasers. The lasers use different wavelengths appropriate for the job at hand. The dental tissues differ according to their type, and they absorb the laser wavelengths of light in different ways. The researchers have developed lasers which are compatible with dental tissues with perfect light wavelengths.
Lasers are used in dentistry to perform as dental instruments for use as needed in particular tasks to be performed like, in teeth whitening process, heat is needed for the process to go faster. Laser can be used to produce heat in teeth whitening procedures done at the dental clinics.
Common procedures using laser
Common dental procedures performed with laser dentistry include the following.
- Treatment of gum disease
- Root canal treatment with infected tissues
- Gum reshaping
- Treating inflammation of and hard tissues
- Biopsy of oral tissues
- Complications of wisdom teeth
- Removal of tissues which are responsible for sleep apnea
- Removal of oral tumours which are not malignant
- Regeneration of nerves that are damaged for various reasons
- Treating long lasting canker and cold sores
Why is laser dentistry preferred by dentists?
There are lots of benefits in laser dentistry which makes the dental procedures go smoother and faster. In addition to convenience of laser beam technology over traditional drill, the laser dentistry has a few advantages.
- Laser dentistry is done through light beams, and therefore there are no cuts and sutures involved. This lessens the recovery time, because healing period is cut down.
- There is no need for anaesthesia as there is minimal discomfort and pain during dental procedure being carried out
- Infection rate is reduced because of laser use, as the laser beam will sterilize the area of work very effectively
- Loss of blood is kept to minimum because of laser technology.
- There are no vibrations like when normal dentist’s drill is used.
- The period of post-operative care is also shorter and smoother. No irritation at the site of dental work. No long waiting for the wound to heal and you can resume work immediately after your dental surgery.
Hard tissue lasers
Hard tissue laser is used for teeth. These lasers have wavelengths that can cut through water as well as bone. Our teeth and bones are made of calcium and phosphorous which makes them hard. The wavelength of these lasers can cut through the bones with high accuracy, and are able to remove a tiny amount of bone or teeth to reshape the bone for perfect fit.
When your teeth become sensitive the laser technology can help ease the pain. Teeth become sensitive because layer gum becomes shallow which brings the sensations of hot and cold very close to nerve endings. The laser wavelengths can correct this because it can treat the gums base accordingly.
The laser is also used for preparing the teeth when dental filling is needed. The dentist needs to shape the tooth and smoothen the rough edges inside the tooth so that the dental filling can be inserted properly. After the filling is inside the tooth, the dentist also has to level the surface of the tooth and make its surface look like a tooth so that chewing is done effectively, both these tasks is accomplished with laser technology very effectively.
Soft tissue lasers
Soft tissue lasers use lighter wavelengths that water and haemoglobin can absorb. Haemoglobin is an important component of blood plasma. Gums have live blood vessels in them. Soft tissue laser is ideal for working on gums, because it can cut through soft tissue without damaging them because blood vessels get sealed while cutting through gums and bleeding does not occur at the time of working through it. The lasers used for working gums are diode lasers; a kind of continuous-wave lasers.
Many cosmetic dentists prefer to work with lasers because no need to wait for healing process as wounds are sealed as soon as work is done. This makes the results visible immediately after the procedure. Laser technology is now used for creating beautiful smiles which include lengthening the crowns, reshaping the gums, application of veneers, and other procedures like correcting speech problems.
Ankyloglossia, or, tongue tie, is one such condition, where thick and short band of tissue tethers the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This position of the tongue, where it cannot move away from the floor of the mouth makes speech formation difficult. Soft laser can cut through this thick band of tissue to make the tongue movement easier
Soft lasers are also used for removing the folds in soft tissues which are created due to dentures. Even after taking proper measurements, sometimes dentures do not fit exactly on the teeth. While chewing, the pressure on the gums may force some skin to fold over. The laser technology can remove these folds made of soft tissues on the gums easily.
Teeth whitening procedures are also done with lasers. The solution of hydrogen peroxide is activated with laser to speed up the process.
Laser dentistry is a new form of dental treatment that has now become hugely popular. It’s safe, fast and effective when used correctly. The lasers are able to remove cavities without drilling or injections, meaning the patient feels very little discomfort during the procedure. A laser dentist can also use it in combination with other procedures like fillings or tooth whitening treatments. If you’re interested in learning more about how this new technology may benefit your oral health care needs, give us a call.