What is Laser Dentistry, and How is it Used?

Image of a dental laser

Laser dentistry is an advanced dental technology that uses lasers to perform a wide range of dental procedures. Dental lasers produce highly concentrated beams of light energy that can be precisely focused on specific areas in the mouth. This technology offers several benefits over traditional dental tools, including reduced pain, minimized bleeding, and faster healing times.

Introduction to Laser Dentistry

Laser dentistry involves specialized dental lasers that emit specific wavelengths of light. Typical dental laser wavelengths include Diodes 830-1,064nm, Erbium 2,790-2,940nm, Nd:YAG 1,064nm, and CO2 9.3-10.6nm. Each laser wavelength produces a specific thermal output that interacts with different tissues in the mouth, such as gums, teeth, and bone, producing various effects.

The lasers can be adjusted for specific dental procedures, making them versatile tools in modern dentistry.

Hard Tissue Procedures

A hard tissue laser removes small amounts of enamel for shaping purposes or in preparation for dental treatment. Erbium-based lasers can be used for hard tissue dental treatments, such as:

Cavity Detection

Diagnostic laser devices that produce red wavelength light at around 655nm can detect early-stage tooth decay by measuring the fluorescence of the tooth structure. Healthy dental tissue has no fluorescence, so any measurable fluorescence indicates the presence of damaged or necrotic tissue. This helps with early detection and intervention of cavities before they become more severe.

Tooth Sensitivity

Dental lasers can seal off exposed dentin surfaces, reduce tooth sensitivity, and provide relief to patients.

Dental Fillings

Lasers can be used to remove decayed tooth structure, preparing the tooth for a dental filling. Laser-assisted cavity preparation may minimize the need for local anesthesia and preserve more healthy tooth structure.

Teeth Whitening

Diode laser technology (800-980nm) can enhance the effectiveness of teeth whitening procedures. The laser-activated bleaching agents are applied to the teeth, accelerating the whitening process and producing quicker results.

Soft Tissue Procedures

One of the primary uses of laser dentistry is for soft tissue procedures. Nd:YAG, Diode and CO2 lasers are ideal for cutting into soft tissue and sealing exposed blood vessels, which is why there is less bleeding and quicker recovery. These lasers are commonly used in treatments such as:

Gum Disease Treatment

Dental lasers can effectively remove infected or inflamed gum tissue in periodontal therapy. They can target and eliminate bacteria, promote gum health, and reduce the need for surgical intervention.

Gum Contouring

Lasers can reshape and recontour gum tissue, improving the appearance of a gummy smile or uneven gum line.

Crown Lengthening

Lasers can remove excess gum tissue to expose more of the tooth structure, which is beneficial for dental restorations or to improve the overall aesthetics of the smile.

Lesion and Benign Tumor Removal

Lasers can remove benign oral lesions such as canker sores, fibromas, and papillomas. The laser can precisely vaporize the lesion or tumor, minimizing bleeding and reducing the risk of infection.

Benefits of Laser Dentistry

Traditional dental techniques and high-speed handpieces are still highly effective ways to administer dental treatments. However, laser dentistry offers several advantages compared to conventional dental techniques, including:

Minimized Discomfort

Lasers can often minimize the need for local anesthesia, as they are generally less invasive and cause less discomfort than traditional dental tools.

Reduced Bleeding and Swelling

The precise nature of dental lasers promotes hemostasis, reducing bleeding during procedures. This can result in less postoperative swelling and faster healing times. The laser also sterilizes gums, making infection less likely.

Improved Precision

Lasers allow targeted treatment, enabling dentists to focus on specific areas while preserving healthy surrounding tissues. This precision promotes better outcomes and reduces the risk of damage to neighboring structures. Patients are also less likely to need sutures.

Reduced Recovery Time

Due to their minimally invasive nature, laser procedures often result in faster healing times, allowing patients to return to normal activities sooner.

Less Dental Anxiety

Many patients experience dental anxiety, and laser dentistry can be an attractive option due to its reduced noise, vibration, and perceived discomfort compared to traditional dental instruments.

Interested in Laser Dentistry for Your Smile?

Laser dentistry continues to evolve and find new applications within the field of dentistry. If you’re interested in exploring laser dentistry for your dental needs, consult a dentist experienced in laser technology at Valley Dental Care to determine if it’s suitable for your specific case.