The Laser Device
Laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) utilizes intense pulsated light concentrated into a narrow beam. This beam can cut, shape, and vaporize human tissue. It has been used in various medical fields, including surgery where it is often used instead of a scalpel. The use of laser not only enhances accuracy but also reduces bleeding because the heat from the device immediately cauterizes the tissue. Since the 1990s, lasers have been used for specific dental treatments such as gum and tooth decay removal.
How is Laser Used in Dentistry?
Laser technology is applied to different dental treatment methods including:
- Gingivectomy. Gum removal may be necessary for patients with severe periodontal disease, as well as patients who want to fix their “gummy” smiles.
- Crown lengthening. Patients who wish to change the size of their teeth may get crown lengthening, a procedure that trims the gums to expose more of the tooth crown. This makes the teeth look bigger, especially for patients who say that their permanent teeth still look like baby teeth.
- Biopsy. For patients who have unusual growths in their oral cavity, the laser can make a biopsy procedure faster, less painful, and less invasive. The tissues can be cut with precision and reduce the removal of healthy tissues.
- Tooth decay removal. Patients who fear the dental bur or drill will be happy to hear that a laser can be used to remove tooth decay. The laser also helps preserve healthy tooth structure. Unlike the bur that roughens the areas of the tooth where decay is removed, laser only vaporizes or melts the tooth mass and doesn’t leave roughness or jagged cavities. Laser treatment also allows faster preparation for dental fillings.
- Cold sores. Cold sores are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Since it is a viral infection, it can’t be cured by antibiotics and may recur several times if the body’s immune system is not responsive. The laser can help eliminate cold sores and reduce the recurrence of the infection, eventually eradicating the virus.
- Teeth whitening. Laser teeth whitening is the latest and most effective dental whitening procedure today. It makes use of powerful laser that stimulates the bleaching agent to break down faster and penetrate deeper into the tooth enamel, producing a whiter outcome. With laser teeth whitening, patients achieve five to six times whiter teeth within less than an hour. The treatment is also safe, fast, and patients can resume regular activities immediately.
- Desensitization. For patients with sensitive teeth, lasers have been found to effectively reduce sensitivity up to seven times. The heat in the laser allows the dentinal fluid to coagulate, which then blocks the dentin tubules and reduces the permeability of the tooth to the pulp. Substances can no longer irritate the pulp easily after treatment, significantly improving patient satisfaction when eating or drinking extremely hot or cold foods and beverages.
Benefits of Laser
One noticeable improvement of laser as compared to older handheld devices is that patients experience less pain during treatment. This reduces the need for multiple anesthetics and improves the overall dental experience. Patients who are uncomfortable with the sound or sight of the dental drill will also benefit from laser treatment. Since laser cauterizes tissue, there is less bleeding and inflammation observed in patients during and after the procedure. This promotes faster recovery and minimizes downtime.