Laser dentistry is a relatively new way of performing dental treatments. Since 1994, lasers have been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for use in a variety of dental applications. Laser dentistry is a safe and effective way to treat many conditions without the need for drills or anesthesia.
How Laser Dentistry Works
Like all lasers, dental lasers produce a very narrow, highly energetic beam of light. Applying this energy to the mouth’s tissues allows the dentist to remove or reshape areas in a targeted way. Depending on the specific application, a laser can act as a heat source or cutting instrument. In some cases, it can immediately cauterize the wound, reducing the need for stitches.
Common Laser Dentistry Procedures
Lasers are used in a wide range of dental applications. Depending on your individual circumstances, your dentist might use a laser to:
- Find cavities: Low intensity dental lasers can look for the signatures of tooth decay.
- Prepare your teeth for fillings: Dental lasers can remove bacteria and reshape the tooth and surrounding gums, improving the long-term results of a filling.
- Minimize tooth sensitivity: Dental lasers can seal the small tubes that make your teeth sensitive.
- Crown lengthening: Dental lasers can remove both soft and hard tissues to create a healthier base for crowns and other restorations.
- Remove canker sores and benign lesions, and take biopsies: Dental lasers can remove small bits of soft tissue, including those that will be checked for cancer.
- Treat a variety of muscular and soft tissue injuries and diseases: From soft folds caused by poorly fitted dentures to the pain of TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction), dental lasers can remove tissues that cause problems.
- Improve the results of tooth whitening: The laser’s energy can speed up the action of a peroxide bleaching solution, resulting in better outcomes in less time.
- Kill bacteria and treat gum disease: Dental lasers are often used to remove pockets of bacteria under the gums, as well as to reduce bacteria during root canals and other procedures.
- Expose wisdom teeth that are only partially erupted: A dental laser can remove the tissue covering a partially erupted wisdom tooth, making extraction easier and less painful. Benefits Of Laser Dentistry
Laser dentistry has quite a few benefits when compared to traditional drill-based dental work. Laser procedures typically cause less pain and less bleeding, minimizing the need for both anesthesia and stitches. When used in tandem with traditional procedures, lasers can reduce bacteria and improve the effectiveness of some treatments. Lasers can also shorten healing time.
Another major advantage of laser dentistry is that, for many patients, it removes a great deal of the anxiety associated with dental procedures. Many people are afraid of drills, pain, and bleeding, all of which are typically reduced with laser dentistry. Removing or reducing the fear encourages those with anxiety to see the dentist more regularly, vastly improving both dental and overall health.
Drawbacks Of Laser Dentistry
Although laser dentistry is an excellent alternative to many traditional treatments, it is not a cure-all. In particular, laser dentistry cannot be used on teeth that already contain fillings, nor on cavities that occur on the sides of the teeth. Lasers do not completely remove the need for anesthesia in all circumstances, and they sometimes need to work in tandem with a traditional drill.
Laser dentistry may not be covered by your insurance provider. Talk to your insurance provider to determine whether this type of treatment is covered and how much you will be expected to pay.
What Else Should I Know About Laser Dentistry?
Laser dentistry is a specialized field that is credentialed through the Academy of Laser Dentistry. Many dental schools and associations also provide training in laser dentistry. Talk to your dentist about his expertise and experience in the field, as well as any other questions or concerns you might have.
Laser dentistry is not right for every patient or every situation. Your dentist will work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for your individualized circumstances. In many cases, laser dentistry is used as part of a multi-pronged plan that includes a variety of the most up-to-date techniques available today.
Family Dental Care of Bellevue provides quality dental care to patients and their families. Call them today at 425-643-5778 to see how they can help improve your smile.
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