What Is Laser Dentistry?

Peggy

 

Peggy Storr RDH

Just as in other areas of medicine, lasers are increasingly becoming more common in dentistry.  Lasers are instruments that produce a very narrow but intense beam of light. The light can remove or shape tissue. While lasers have been used in dentistry since 1985, its estimated that only 6% of dental offices utilize lasers. With improvements in technology and as the cost of lasers decrease, a greater number of dentists and hygienists will feel confident in incorporating lasers into their treatments.

How are lasers used in dentistry?

Hard Tissue (or Tooth) Laser Procedures

  • Cavity detection: Lasers provide readings of by-products produced by tooth decay
  • Tooth preparation for fillings- dental lasers may soon eliminate the need for anesthetic and the dental drill.
  • Tooth Sensitivity-lasers may be used to seal tubules located on the root of the tooth that are responsible for sensitive teeth.
  • Help treat infections in root canals

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Soft Tissue (or Gum) Laser Procedures

  • Reshaping of gum tissue to expose tooth structure if needed to place a filling
  • Reshaping gum tissue to improve the appearance of a gummy smile
  • Remove inflamed gum tissues and aid in the treatment of gum disease
  • Removing muscle attachments causing “tongue-tie”
  • Removing benign tumors from gums, palate, sides of cheeks and lips
  • Reducing pain and minimize healing of cold sores
  • Treat pain and inflammation of temporomandibular joint disorder

 

While lasers do not yet replace the traditional dental drill, or the instruments the dental hygienist uses to scale teeth, improvements in laser technology will soon offer quicker, more effective and more comfortable procedures than in the past. This is good news for all especially those of you are anxious at the thought of visiting the dentist!

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/laser-use-dentistry

www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-21/dental-lasers

Lesley Ranft, The Future of Dental Lasers, Retrieved from  http://www.Consumer Guide to Dentistry

Lesley Ranft, Laser Dentistry: Enhancing Dental Treatment with Lasers, Retrieved from http://www.Consumer Guide to Dentistry

http://www.Know Your Teeth.com/infobites/abc/article What is Laser Dentistry? http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/laser/

www.dentistrytoday.com300

 

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Sugar

Arianna Headshot

Arianna Marsden RDH

 

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With all the candy that has come into our homes as a result of trick or treating, now seems like a great time of year to review strategies for preventing cavities.  Cavities are caused by acid-producing-bacteria that are present in our mouths.  Bacteria consume the sugars in the foods we eat and produce acid.  This acid produced by bacteria in our mouths softens the hardest outer layer of our teeth, the enamel, and causes tooth decay or cavities.  Some of the best ways to prevent cavities are to eat sugars in moderation, limit the amount of time our teeth are exposed to acid, and practicing proper oral health habits.

In order to prevent cavities, it’s important to eat sugars in moderation.  The sugars being referred to be not just the sugars found in candies and soda, but also natural sugars such as those found in fruits and nuts!  Bacteria are not picky about the type of sugar they like to eat, and will produce enamel-softening acid even from something as healthy as sugar in an apple.  Keep in mind that while fruits are important for a healthy diet, how frequently these sugars are consumed plays a big part in their capacity to cause cavities.  This is why it’s important to limit the amount of time our teeth are exposed to acid.

When sugar is eaten, acid-levels in the mouth spike for a period of about one hour before they are neutralized again by the saliva.  The longer sugar is in contact with our teeth, the longer bacteria have a chance to produce acid.  Sticky candies, like sugared fruit snacks, caramels, or lollipops should be avoided, because they tend to stick to the teeth for a longer period of time.

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Another factor that causes acid-levels in the mouth to stay high is grazing on candy throughout the day.  This grazing-style of eating prevents the saliva from being able to neutralize the acid levels in the mouth, as they are continuously spiking from the intake of sugar.  This high acid-level environment is the perfect storm for causing cavities, but there are some strategies we can use to assist our saliva in neutralizing the acid-level in our mouths.  Drinking a glass of water, or thoroughly brushing teeth after eating sugar are great for neutralizing acid.  Chewing a piece of sugar-free gum for about 20 minutes after eating has also been shown to stimulate saliva flow and quickly neutralize the acid-level in our mouths.

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We should be brushing our teeth at least twice a day, with a soft toothbrush and a small, pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.  Flossing at least once a day is critical for removing plaque bacteria from between the teeth.  Brushing and flossing removes plaque bacteria from our teeth, and fewer bacteria present in our mouths means less potential acid that can be produced.  Fluoride has been demonstrated to dramatically reduce the damage caused by cavities, and when used properly, is a great strategy for preventing cavities.

Fluoride in our toothpaste and water at home can help prevent cavities, as well as professional fluoride treatments provided at the dentist’s office.

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Being selective about the types of candy that we are giving to our trick or treaters, when and how much candy we are eating, and being especially conscientious about our oral health practices will be helpful strategies in preventing cavities this holiday season.

 

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

 

Sources

https://www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/caring-for-teeth/sugar-free-chewing-gum

http://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/halloweendw.html

http://www.rudyard.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/toothbrush-and-toothpaste-and-floss.jpg

http://i3.dainikbhaskar.com/thumbnail/300×259/web2images/www.dailybhaskar.com/2014/05/15/4907_lollipop.jpg

http://stayhealthyla.org/blog/uploads//2010/03/sugar.jpg

https://www.dentalhealth.org/uploads/images/chewinggumchart.jpg