Dentistry has come a long way in the past 20 years. Major advances in laser technology have benefited dental patients by shortening the time spent in the chair, providing a higher quality of dental work, lessening patient anxiety, and minimizing discomfort. Many dental services today can be done using lasers.
Low-intensity lasers can now be used to identify early signs of tooth decay, allowing for early treatment of affected areas.
Removal of tooth decay
In many cases, a dentist may be able to use a laser to remove tooth decay. While this doesn’t eliminate the need for drilling, it can reduce the amount required. For patients who experience anxiety during the drilling process, this can be extremely helpful.
Application of fillings
Lasers now take the wait time out of the completion of fillings in teeth. By using a special laser, compounds can be applied to the tooth, activated via laser, and “cured” or set almost instantly. Patients walk away with solid fillings without the worry of disrupting any finished work.
Possible anesthesia reduction
Local anesthesia is needed for many dental procedures. While a laser will not eliminate the need for anesthesia, the use of one can reduce the amount of anesthesia required.
Root canal therapy
When used during a root canal, lasers can particularly helpful. They can remove bacteria from the canals, trim back tissue, and make for a potentially faster experience in the chair.
Many dentists have begun using a new method for making crowns. Instead of taking impressions with a form of putty, they can now use a laser to make exact measurements, send them to a computer, and use a machine that makes a crown that fits the tiniest of crevices of your teeth perfectly for a secure fit. Often, this method will provide a patient with a fully functioning crown in just one visit.
When teeth are being prepped for crowns, they may not be in ideal shape around the gum line. In this case, lasers can be used to trim down the gum to reveal healthier parts of the tooth. These parts can then be used to ensure that a crown is stable and inserted properly.
Relief of tooth sensitivity
Many patients suffer from increased cold and hot sensitivity in teeth. Lasers can be used to seal up the tubes responsible for that sensitivity, providing relief from pain.
Gum tissue removal
A precision cut by a laser can be used to remove gum tissue to treat gum disease. By using a high intensity beam to smoothly eliminate the tissue, lasers can make a clean, sterile cut unlike many other cutting devices.
Removal of tissue in the mouth
When an area needs to be biopsied or a lesion needs to be removed, a laser can be a great tool. By using a laser to remove these areas, swelling and bleeding can be lessened as well as trauma to the area.
Treatment for being “tongue-tied”
Occasionally, a muscle attachment underneath the tongue called the “frenulum linguae” can be too restrictive. Another name for this condition is being “tongue-tied.” This problem can lead to speech delays and even impede breast feeding. Lasers can be used to adjust the frenulum to allow the tongue easier movement and resolve these issues.