The popularity of light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation, commonly known as LASER, is growing at a fast rate. Some of the industries that have adopted the use of LASER for ease include the medical field, engineering, automobile, welding and cutting, textile industry et cetera. The use of laser technology in the medical field is mainly seen in surgeries such as eye and brain surgery. Dentistry is one branch of medicine that has adopted the use of laser technology.
Laser technology is easy to use and saves on human resources thanks to its high energy, especially when used to cut through heavy materials like in welding. It is also associated with benefits such as saving time and improving the accuracy and precision of activities. This is what makes it suitable for use in the medical field. Also, it is associated with fewer mistakes compared to traditional procedures. Hardly will a medical procedure go wrong when done using laser technology. In turn, laser technology is associated with fewer health complications due to its many benefits, like acting as a sterilizing agent and promoting the clotting of blood.
Laser dentistry refers to the use of laser technology in the dental field to address some dental issues. In 1989, the use of laser dentistry was discovered. Shortly after the discovery, the Foods and Drugs Administration (FDA) approved laser technology for dentistry use. The laser is in the form of a narrow beam of light, usually red in color, that has high energy to cut through tissue or shape it. Laser dentistry has become a viable option in dentistry compared to non-laser alternatives like dental drills. This is because it is gentle on both soft and hard tissues such as the gums and teeth, respectively. Due to this aspect, laser dentistry is divided into two categories; soft tissue lasers and hard tissue lasers.
Hard tissue lasers are meant for teeth, while soft tissue lasers for gums. Usually, a dentist will use just one type of laser but can use both types when necessary. Hard lasers can be used for teeth because teeth contain mineral and water components that are capable of absorbing the wavelength of the laser.
What is laser dentistry recommended for?
Laser dentistry has a lot of clinical applications. It is used for procedures such as:
1. Teeth whitening
Whitening teeth if you have yellow teeth has never been easier. With laser dentistry, teeth whitening is faster and effective. All your dentist will do is apply a peroxide solution to your teeth and apply the laser to activate the solution. Peroxides have a whitening effect on teeth, but the whitening process is made faster by the application of laser. In this procedure, the laser acts as a source of heat for the peroxide.
2. Tooth decay
Hard tissue laser is used in this procedure to cut off the decayed part of the tooth. The cutting out is more accurate since only the decayed part is removed, unlike dental drilling, which can also remove the healthy part of the tooth. In this procedure, laser technology vaporizes the decayed portion of the tooth to create room for fillings.
3. Gum problems
Soft tissue laser dentistry can be used in the management of certain gum problems. Problems like gummy smiles are some of the common problems solved by laser dentistry. Lasers can reshape gums that cover a significant portion of the teeth leading to gummy smiles.
4. Lingual frenectomy
The frenulum is the part of the tongue that attaches it to the floor of the mouth. In a normal baby, the frenulum is thin. However, some babies are born with a thick frenulum, also known as tongue-tie, making breastfeeding and speech difficult. Therefore, intervention is necessary to reduce the size of the frenulum. The easiest and least painful procedure, for children, that can achieve this is laser dentistry. Laser technology acts as a cutting source enabling the child to breastfeed.
5. Teeth sensitivity
When the pulp cavity of the teeth is exposed, your teeth will become sensitive to extreme temperatures like heat and cold. This can happen either due to tooth decay or cracking of the teeth. To solve this, laser dentistry can seal tubules present at the root of teeth.
Laser dentistry is also applicable to other dental procedures, such as the lengthening of crowns, removal of soft tissue folds, removal of lesions, and filling of holes on teeth. It can also be used for the preparation of dental procedures because it has a sterilizing effect. As such, it can be used before procedures such as traditional dental drills to kill bacteria.
Is laser dentistry safe?
Yes, laser dentistry is safe. Since laser dentistry uses laser, people often associate it with unsafety. However, laser dentistry is entirely safe with the correct precautionary measures in place. Laser dentistry is associated with several benefits that make it a safer option for the dental procedures earlier mentioned. Some of the benefits of laser dentistry that make it safe include:
1. There are few complications during healing compared to other dental procedures. The procedure involves minimal damage to tissues at the site and those around enabling them to regenerate faster and thereby heal faster. Furthermore, there is a low risk of developing an infection at the site because laser technology has a sterilizing effect.
2. There is little bleeding involved compared to a dental drill procedure. Therefore, the procedure is suitable for people with dental problems who have bleeding disorders, especially haemophilia. This is because laser dentistry promotes the clotting of blood, which is an essential step in minimizing bleeding.
3. Since lasers are a minimally invasive procedure, they do not need many sutures as with other dental procedures. Additionally, due to the minimally invasive nature, the need for anaesthesia is minimized in some procedures.
4. Laser dentistry is safe even for children. The procedure has little or no pain compared to other traditional forms of dentistry such as drills and surgical blades. This is why it is used in children for the purpose of a frenectomy.
Although laser dentistry is associated with many benefits, it also has its disadvantages. It is also an expensive procedure compared to other dental procedures. As such, you should look for an NYC laser dentistry expert to answer all the questions you may have regarding the procedure. It would be best if you then weighed the risks and benefits of the procedure on your health before going through with the procedure.