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What Is Laser Dentistry and Why Does It Matter?

Written by prositesdentalJan 16 • 4 minute read

Laser dentistry is a fairly new dental field that is relatively unknown to many people. If you’ve never heard of laser dentistry care, there has never been a better time to learn. Laser dentistry is a minimally invasive option when you’re facing cavity treatment, gum surgery, or other dental issues.

You may wish to discuss your laser surgery options with your dentist too see what your options are, the next time you need one of these types of dental care.

Dental issues that are treatable with laser dentistry:

The gums are home to the vast majority of dental problems treatable with laser dentistry. Here are a handful of them that could apply to you at some point in the future:

  • Infected root canal
  • Canker sores and cold sores
  • gum diseases such as Gingivitis
  • Inflamed Gums
  • Excising a benign (non-cancerous) oral tumor
  • Malformed Gums
  • Clearing the area around wisdom teeth for a removal procedure
  • Sleep apnea related throat tissue removal to fix breathing or snoring issues
  • Repair of damaged nerves or nerve tissue
  • Biopsy to investigate gum issues such as lumps or patches that could be potentially cancerous

An Overview of Laser Dentistry

Dental professionals utilize laser beams, which are extremely focused beams of light, to modify or excise tissue in tiny amounts. Laser surgery isn’t restricted to dentistry alone, though most people haven’t heard of laser dentistry before having it done. Dentists use lasers in a myriad of different procedures that take place on the inside of the mouth, whether to eliminate some slightly excessive gum tissue, to reshape malformed gums, or to brighten teeth that have become yellowed or stained by food, drink, or tobacco habits.

In some cases, laser dentistry can be helpful for kids who get anxious or scared when having dental procedures completed.

Why would you choose laser dentistry rather than traditional dentistry?

Dentists usually select laser surgery because it may cause patients less discomfort than other viable methods, and reduce invasiveness as well as the anxiety that often comes with having a dental procedure done.

  • Less blood loss means a cleaner procedure and a happier patient
  • Infections are far less likely due to the disinfection that lasers do when used
  • Patients are less likely to need stiches or other closures
  • Healing time is faster due to the damage done to gums being greatly reduced
  • Numbing of the area with anesthetics may be unnecessary due to less pain involved in the procedure with laser dentistry vs. traditional dentistry

What should you expect with laser dentistry procedures?

You might be surprised to find out that as with a regular dental procedure appointment, a laser dentistry appointment will typically begin with a local anesthetic, though a more mild dosage than you’d get with a regular procedure. If you are prone to anxiety, you might also be given a sedative to help you calm your nerves.

Unlike with a drill used in other dentistry, you won’t feel any vibrations or hear any noises that you are used to. Instead, your mouth will be dropped open and the entire procedure will be completed using beams of focused light. This is much cleaner and simpler, with less pain and bleeding than a drill or other traditional dental tools might cause.

After the procedure, what should you expect?

If you have ever had an experience with traditional dental procedures, you can expect that your recovery after a laser dentistry procedure will be much faster and smoother than you previously experienced with traditional dentistry. Because the incisions are much cleaner and smaller, they produce less bleeding and therefore heal faster and bleed far less when you get home. If you would have had a scalpel procedure, your wound from the laser alternative version will be far less invasive and should heal up nice and quickly.

Your dentist will likely give you a set of recommended steps to take when you get home. You should follow your dentist’s instructions exactly letter to ensure a speedy recovery. Due to the way lasers kill bacteria and reduce the risk of infection, any irritations experienced after a laser dentistry operation should be fairly minor.

What type of lasers are used with laser dentistry?

There are different types of lasers, each of which interact with the tissue in the mouth differently. For this reason, dentists must use a couple of different types of lasers to perform a procedure. Laser beams operate at different wavelengths, and these wavelengths affect the gum tissue in different ways. The two main categories of lasers used in laser dentistry are soft tissue lasers and hard tissue lasers. By changing the wavelengths of light used in dental laser beams, dentists are able to be very precise with the effects of the beams and therefore with the operations they are able to perform with dental laser technology.

Soft Tissue Lasers

Soft tissue lasers are designed to be absorbed by hemoglobin (blood cells) and water. The gums are filled with blood, which contains a lot of hemoglobin molecules. This makes soft tissue laser beams the tool of choice for operations where the gums are involved rather than the teeth or bones. A nice side benefit of this type of laser is that when they cut through a blood vessel, they also seal it up right away to prevent bleeding or infection.

The soft tissue laser beam is usually used in these procedures:

  • Freeing up restricted tongue movement
  • Eliminating the folds in the soft tissues of the mouth caused by wearing dentures
  • Making dental crowns longer
  • Adjusting the shape of the gums to improve your smile

Hard Tissue Lasers

Hard tissue lasers are used when a dentist is working with the teeth rather than with the gums. These lasers are optimized to slice through bone or water, and more specifically through the calcium phosphate that is the main ingredient in bones and teeth.

Your dentist might use a hard tissue laser beam to perform the following laser dentistry procedures:

  • Treating a sensitive tooth that has been bothering you when eating or drinking
  • Prepping a tooth to receive a dental filling in a cavity
  • Detecting the formation of new cavities to discern where fillings are required

Regardless of which type of laser dentistry procedure you are thinking of having performed, you can expect less pain, reduced risk of infection, and faster recovery times from this advancement in dental procedure technology. Be sure to ask your dentist about laser dentistry options the next time you are having one of these issues treated. Have you or a friend experienced laser dentistry? How did it compare to previous experiences with traditional dental procedures? Let us know in the comments!

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