It may come as surprise to some, but laser treatment options have been part of medicine for decades. For example, laser assisted eye surgeries have enabled surgeons to treat cataracts and other eye conditions with no scalpel or stitches involved. In cosmetology, lasers have been used in skin procedures where they help enhance the collagen production and increase rejuvenation of the skin.
The first dental lasers were introduced in the late 1980s and since then they have come along a long way. Currently laser dental treatments are better choice than or a great adjunct to numerous traditional dental treatments.
Laser dentistry is any type of dental treatment or procedure that is done with the assistance of a dental laser. The term “laser” is an acronym for ‘Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation’. Lasers use light energy that is delivered through a fiberoptic cable to the targeted tissue. The laser light interacts with the target tissue to produce the therapeutic effect.
In dentistry, there are hard tissue and soft tissue lasers and multiple modes and clinical situations in which they are used.
Our office at Acton Smile Hub utilizes a 940 nm diode laser in the invisible infrared range. This is a soft tissue laser that has both surgical and non-surgical clinical applications.
Dental Laser Treatments vs Traditional Methods
Dental laser treatments use innovative technology to complete many of the same dental procedures that patients are familiar with and had completed before using traditional methods. These treatments are accurate, effective and provide many benefits to the patient including:
- Minimally invasive with no need for scalpels, incisions or sutures;
- Reduced post operative swelling due to sealing of the lymphatics and reduced inflammation;
- Blood clotting with no post operative bleeding;
- 90% reduction in post operative pain and discomfort
What Are Soft Tissue Lasers Used for in Dentistry?
Generally, there are surgical and non-surgical use cases in dentistry where lasers can help with various dental treatments. As noted previously, at Acton Smile Hub we use the soft tissue lasers to assist with treating of variety of conditions:
- Surgically, the soft tissue laser is used for treatment of periodontal disease as well as esthetic gum contouring, frenectomy, coagulation and hemostasis, soft tissue lesion removal and biopsy, tooth and orthodontic bracket removal and operculectomy.
- Non surgically we use it for laser dental cleaning (gum decontamination and bacterial reduction), treatment and prevention of periodontal disease, reduction of tooth and root sensitivity, and TMJ /facial pain management. Lasers also aid in treatment of several other conditions including aphthous ulcer (canker sore), Herpetic lesion (cold sore), dry socket, angular cheilitis, burning mouth and tongue syndrome, denture sores, mucositis, extraction sites, bisphosphonate osteonecrosis of the jaw, acceleration of wound healing and leucoplakia.
In most non-surgical laser applications, we take advantage of the laser bio stimulation effects, which involves exposing the tissues and organs to low levels of laser light therapy (LLLT). The light penetrates deep into the tissue and helps repair and regenerate it by stimulating its metabolism. The benefits of this process are:
- Increased vascularity
- Increased cell metabolism
- Decreased inflammatory response
- Increased immune function
- Increased stimulation of stem cells
- Increased cell reparation including collagen production
- Increased nerve regeneration
- Decreased pain response and analgesia
Dental lasers are completely safe and painless to use for most patients – exceptions are patients who breathe through a nasal cannula or an oxygen mask. Obviously, eye safety precautions must be taken to prevent damage to the retina – wavelength specific eye protection must be worn by both the patient and the clinician and all others in attendance during the laser procedure.