Laser dentistry is a broad term concerned with using lasers to modify both hard and soft oral tissues. It does not refer to a specific procedure, and patients can benefit from lasers for a wide range of dental procedures. Lasers for dental care purposes were first approved in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration in the early 1990s. Despite that, laser dentistry is still not mainstream.
How Are Lasers Used in Dentistry?
The lasers available for use by dentists are often classified as either soft-tissue or hard-tissue lasers. Oral soft tissues include your gums, whereas oral hard tissues include your teeth.
Soft-Tissue Dental Lasers
According to the American Dental Association, the FDA has approved more than 20 uses of lasers in dentistry. Most of those procedures involve the gums. The most common soft-tissue dental laser is the diode laser, followed by the carbon dioxide and Nd:YAG lasers.
Using a laser, a dentist is able to cut gum tissue in a very precise manner. A dentist can reshape the gums for aesthetic purposes or optimize them for better function and dental care access. Lasers can be used to treat cold sores and oral ulcers and can remove excess gum tissue. Dentists can also use lasers to treat periodontal disease by cutting away the infected lining of the gums.
The American Association of Periodontology has not yet taken a stance on whether laser treatment is better for periodontal disease than traditional methods. Nevertheless, laser therapy certainly provides some benefits. Discomfort, swelling, and bleeding are all less severe during and after the treatment when using lasers. There is a reduced need for anesthesia, and healing times are faster as well.
Hard-Tissue Dental Lasers
Everyday people often think of their teeth as bones, but teeth are mostly made up of bone-like tissues like enamel and dentin. Hard-tissue lasers, such as the Er:YAG and Cr:YSGG lasers are able to cut the teeth, which lets a dentist remove tooth decay, prepare a tooth for a filling, prepare a tooth for root canal therapy and etch teeth so that fillings and other oral restorations can bond better.
Hard-tissue dental lasers are beneficial in that they reduce the need for anesthesia. In addition, there is less heat generated than with traditional dental tools, so your dentist need not be as concerned with overheating sensitive aspects of your teeth, such as the pulp. On the other hand, these lasers can extend procedure times due to the precision of laser cutting, and results may be more inconsistent.
Lasers and Dental Procedures
Lasers can be used in many different dental procedures but are not necessary. Therefore, whether a laser is used is up to you and your dentist. The ADA has not yet included an education in laser dentistry in its accreditation standards. Dentists must elect to include the subject in their initial education or must seek out that training on their own through ongoing education programs. Some of the common ways dentists use lasers include teeth whitening, detecting tooth decay, and setting fillings and crowns.
Benefit From Laser Dentistry at Scottsdale Dental Excellence
Jeffrey D. Clark, DDS, is a premier Arizona dentist that has committed himself to providing the most advanced dental care available. He embraces a continuing education, which includes extensive training in the safe and effective use of lasers. As a patient of Dr. Clark, you will benefit from a diode laser, which allows for faster procedures, greater accuracy, and better healing times. Dr. Clark can use the laser to:
- Contour gum tissue for restorative procedures
- Speed up the healing of ulcerations and herpetic lesions
- Remove excess gum tissue for cosmetic and functional purposes
- Disinfect periodontal pockets to reduce inflammation and hasten healing
Schedule Your Appointment Today
Patients at Scottsdale Dental Excellence have the latest dental treatments and technologies at their disposal. You will also receive compassionate and personalized care from a dentist and dental team that are truly committed to your health. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, do not hesitate to call us today. You can reach us at 480 585 1853.