When American engineer and physicist Theodore Harold Maiman demonstrated a hand-held device using laser technology in 1960, he had no idea of the many ways lasers would be incorporated in everyday life not only in the United States but also around the globe.
The characteristic ability to precisely cut and target makes lasers particularly attractive for many medical and health care professionals, but what about dentistry? Over the past two decades, lasers have become more commonplace in the practice of dentistry, adding a gentle rushing air sound to the dental suites rather than the whine of the sometimes anxiety-producing dental drill.
Richard Hardt, DDS, of Porterville, California, shares his experience with the benefits of laser dentistry and how the dentists at his practice use lasers to complement their services and the patient’s overall experience.
1. Versatile dental tools
Dental lasers address a variety of issues — everything from teeth whitening to treating gum disease and canker sores and surgically reshaping your gums, making them handy and versatile tools for dentists.
Not surprisingly, there are a variety of dental lasers for different applications. We use a hand-held diode laser to treat soft tissue dental conditions and to perform restorative dental work. The ability to precisely target the laser to address only the diseased or affected area keeps the healthy tissue intact and unaffected, making this laser dentistry tool a win-win for both the patient and the dentist.
2. Effective in treating gum disease
When it comes to periodontal disease and gingivitis, keeping the condition from progressing to the point of losing teeth is the No. 1 goal. Typically scaling to remove plaque from the pockets and root planing to remove plaque from the roots of teeth are the go-to treatments for gum disease.
In severe cases, dental surgery is needed. Some dental practices do this surgery with a scalpel or an electrosurgery device using high-frequency waveforms or currents. But when you use a dental laser as your tool of choice, you not only address the specific issue, but you also get nice added benefits: the reduction of bacteria and toxins and quicker healing time.
3. Minimally invasive surgery device
Surgery is something you don’t want to hear next to the word “dental.” Dental surgery sounds both scary and painful. The good news is that if your dentist uses a diode laser, the whole process is less invasive than traditional dental surgery. That translates into less of a need for local anesthesia for everything like filling a cavity to cutting into your gum to reach an impacted wisdom tooth.
4. Allows you to heal faster
When you need any type of dental work done, the last thing you want is an uncomfortable procedure and a prolonged, painful recovery time. One of the major benefits of using lasers in the practice of dentistry is that they cause less swelling and bleeding, which mean you heal faster.
Using a laser as a cutting tool enables us to cut and coagulate your treatment area at the same time, which prevents excessive bleeding. Sometimes less is really more.
5. Safe for patients with pacemakers
Laser dentistry is particularly useful patients who have pacemakers and can’t undergo electrosurgery techniques due to the risk of electrical interference. Since dental lasers don’t produce a lot of heat and lack the electrical characteristics, they can also be used around implants and orthodontics wires and brackets.
If you think you might be a candidate for laser dentistry, contact us for a consultation. Book your appointment online or call today.