This article is a continuation of our blog series on laser dentistry specifically focused on how dental lasers can help clean your teeth.
What is Laser Cleaning of Teeth?
Laser teeth cleaning is also referred to as laser bacterial reduction (LBR) or laser decontamination and involves use of concentrated beam of light energy to destroy periodontal bacteria around your gums. This can be done by a certified dental professional which can be your dentist or dental hygienist. Our clinical staff at Acton Smile Hub are all certified to provide laser dental cleaning to our patients.
What is the Difference Between Traditional vs Laser Teeth Cleaning?
Traditional teeth cleaning is done at your routine prophylaxis dental appointment when the dental hygienist will typically use hand tools and sometimes ultrasonic instruments. These instruments help remove the biofilm of bacteria and plaque as well as hard deposits on the teeth know as calculus or tartar.
At Acton Smile Hub, we couple our dental laser with an ultrasonic scaler and hand instrumentation for our routine hygiene visits. This approach provides superior results because the laser directly destroys the bad bacteria causing gum disease and stimulates tissue repair and regeneration.
How Does Laser Teeth Cleaning Work?
Laser dental cleaning can be done before and/or after your existing routine prophylaxis appointment without topical or local anesthesia since the laser bacterial reduction is painless and non-invasive.
In susceptible patients, your hygienist may choose to use the laser preventively, before the prophylaxis. The goal of the pre-procedural laser treatment is to reduce Covid pathogens, minimize aerosols, and reduce bacteremia during the cleaning. This would be useful for any patient, but it is especially recommended for immuno-compromised, elderly, or patients who need to pre-medicate with antibiotics before their dental visits.
Next, the hygienist will use ultrasonic and hand scalers to remove the plaque and tartar from the teeth and then polish and floss your teeth to a high shine.
Finally, the hygienist will use the laser in any areas that show signs of bleeding, redness or swelling. These are the early signs of gum disease and the laser treatment is geared to stop its progression and help the tissue heal. Because the laser dental cleaning is targeted to directly destroy pathogens and microbes, the treatment is known as laser bacterial reduction or decontamination.
The entire laser dental treatment only takes an additional 10-15 min and there are no postoperative restrictions, as healing takes place rapidly.
Reasons to Consider Laser Teeth Cleaning
There are several benefits of laser teeth cleaning:
1. Eliminates periodontal disease bacteria and prevents periodontal disease;
2. Reduces or eliminates potential infections that can be caused by bacteria from bleeding sites on the gums that flood the bloodstream and can seed into weakened areas such as joints or heart valves. In essence, it protects not only your oral health, but also the health of the rest of your body. This recent case in Chicago is one example of how mouth bacteria can impact your overall health.
3. Prevents cross contamination in your mouth from one site to the other;
4. Reduces the bacterial load in the aerosols created during your cleaning, thus reducing communicable disease like flu and covid;
5. Stimulates the tissue metabolism which helps repair and regenerate it.
We have seen great improvements in gum health in patients with early and localized signs of periodontal disease especially when we pair our laser prophylaxis appointment with good home oral hygiene protocols and shorter recall intervals.
Is Laser Teeth Cleaning Covered by Insurance?
Unfortunately, insurance companies are always behind the leading edge in high tech healthcare and most do not cover this part of the procedure. However, your insurance coverage may be different. Please call your dental insurance carrier for specifics about your policy.
How Much Does Laser Teeth Cleaning Cost?
Most patients pay a $55 out-of-pocket fee for laser bacterial decontamination therapy. If you don't have dental insurance, call our office, and we can let you know how much LBR would cost in addition to your routine teeth cleaning.