Laser use in dentistry
Lasers have become more and more common in medical procedures, revolutionizing approaches to surgery and other applications. They are also being used more and more often in dentistry, from laser gum therapy to preparing teeth for restorations. Lasers can make numerous dental procedures quicker, easier, and even more comfortable for the patient.
Lasers and Gum Treatments
One major use of lasers in dentistry is in gum treatment. For gum surgery, use of a laser instead of a traditional scalpel means the incisions bleed less and heal faster. A laser can also allow the dentist or periodontist to focus directly on tissue that is infected while leaving healthy tissue intact. Removing less tissue, as well as the natural cauterizing effect of lasers, means faster healing and sometimes even eliminates the need for stitches.
Laser gum therapy, also referred to as LANAP, is a relatively new approach to laser dentistry that performs the same function as traditional deep cleaning, or planing and scaling. The dentist uses a fine laser to remove disease tissues from within the gum pocket. The laser allows for a less intrusive procedure and has been shown to encourage regeneration of the tissues so your gums will be back to normal much more quickly.
Other Uses of Lasers in Dentistry
In addition to gum therapies, lasers are sometimes used to prepare teeth for restorations. If you need to have a cavity filled, a laser can perform the task usually reserved for a drill. In general, less of the tooth will have to be removed, as the laser is much more accurate. It also produces less heat and no vibrations—both aspects of drill use that can be very uncomfortable for patients.
Lasers are also used to detect cavities in very early stages, and for various forms of oral surgery. As with gum surgeries, oral surgery performed with lasers means less discomfort and faster healing. As time goes on, there will undoubtedly be even more applications for this state-of-the-art addition to your dentist’s set of tools.