Risky Business

Laser Dentistry

Are We All on the Same Wavelength

When I think of lasers, I think of the future. Much to my denial (because I’m getting older), the future is here . . . I think. As laser dentistry continues to gain popularity, it is being implemented in more and more dental offices across the nation. Although great for a wide range of procedures, don’t be mislead about its capabilities.

Laser dentistry has come a long way since its introduction in 1985. Currently the there are 24 FDA approved indications for the use of lasers in dentistry. Below is a summary of how laser dentistry can benefit you:

Hard tissue (teeth and bone)

The lasers used in dentistry have great capabilities, but it’s good to know there are different energy lasers for different types of procedures. The dentist can determine when using laser technology will be beneficial to you. Lasers are safely used to:

  • Remove cavities
  • Prepare teeth
  • Remove tooth pulp, Endodontic treatment
  • Contour bone
  • Remove filling material
Surgical Periodontal Treatment (gums)

This is the Periodontists’ specialty. Soft tissue lasers are commonly used for altering the gums. Great surgical results are still widely obtained from traditional methods of alterations, but laser use has other advantages. It helps blood coagulate, less post-operative swelling, reduces bacteria at the surgical site and promotes faster healing. Here is a list of common soft tissue procedures approved for laser treatment.

  • Gingivectomy
  • Gingivoplasty
  • Frenectomy
  • Free gingival grafts
  • Crown lengthening
  • Biopsies
Nonsurgical Periodontal Treatment (cleanings)

A lot of offices are now offering laser cleanings. I have seen it advertised as painless cleanings that are less traumatic on the teeth. This is misleading because it’s not really a cleaning. The truth is lasers are helpful when used in CONJUNCTION with traditional cleaning methods but cannot and should not do the job alone.

Currently no dental laser effectively removes tartar or calculus from the tooth and root structure, this still has to be accomplished through scaling and root planing. The laser is more of a localized gum sterilizer if you will. It does reduce the bacterial levels and inflammation around the teeth. This is beneficial because it helps with healing and can improve the quality of diseased tissue.



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This is Not a Dictatorship


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