One of the biggest developments in modern dentistry is the introduction of laser technology in the treatment of patients. 50 years ago, the idea alone would have sounded like something out of a sci-fi movie. But today, lasers have many applications in the maintenance of the teeth and gums, along with promising outlooks for the future. In our office, we use lasers for a number of treatments and want to show you why they are safe and effective dental instruments!
At it’s very core, a laser is specially concentrated beam of light that produces a small pinpoint of energy. Depending on the type of material used to create the laser beam, the energy can be optimized to cut a number of materials. For this reason, lasers have long been used in precision manufacturing for making extremely accurate cuts. In dentistry, these properties allow us to use lasers in a variety of procedures, often with less time and tissue damage involved.
The most common application of lasers in dentistry is the removal or recontouring of gum tissue. In treatments where the gums need to be adjusted, a dentist would classically utilize a sharp instrument like a scalpel. While these did a great job of cutting tissue, they would induce considerable bleeding and inflammation. Lasers match the cutting abilities of standard instruments, but also stimulate healthier healing patterns from your immune system. Because the laser “seals” the tissue as it cuts, there is less trauma to the gum tissue and shorter healing times.
At our office, we particularly capitalize on the incredible healing properties of lasers in restoring dental implants. After an implant is placed and has healed in bone, it needs to be “revealed” by cutting away any gum tissue that would interfere with attaching the crown. Traditionally, we would need one appointment to trim the gums and a second appointment to allow them time to heal before taking impressions for the lab. However, our laser system allows us to reveal the implant and take impressions in the same appointment, as the gums will heal right away with minimal inflammation.
Beyond soft tissue adjustment, lasers are utilized to provide a number of dental services, ranging from stimulating periodontal attachment to removing tooth decay. Research has also shown that lasers hold even more applications for the future. Currently, experts are working on developing a system called selective ablation, where hard tooth structure is treated by a laser that only removes demineralized areas. Although this technology is still in development, it promises a new form of extremely conservative cavity removal, as only decayed tooth will be affected by the laser.
The field of laser dentistry is still new and evolving. Likewise, information and products are being introduced to the market at a rapid pace. As with all new technologies, our office likes to evaluate the research and clinical results before incorporating them into our patient treatment. If you would like to know more about dental lasers, the types of lasers we use or why we use them, please give us a call. We pride ourselves in being knowledgeable in all the current topics in dentistry and dental services!