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
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!
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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