A Guide to Laser Dentistry

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Laser dentistry is a hot topic right now, and it offers many benefits that you will want to know all about! The term laser is short for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” There are different types of dental lasers designed for various dental procedures. Soft tissue lasers are designed for procedures involving the removal of gum tissue. This may be indicated for the removal of inflamed gum tissue around your tooth to allow deep cleaning, cosmetic gum contouring, removal of excess gum tissue (i.e. surrounding wisdom teeth), removal of tissue attachments that are impeding tongue or lip movement (i.e. frenectomies), as well as for a therapeutic treatment for canker sores and herpetic lesions. Whereas hard tissue lasers are used to treat tooth sensitivity, remove or reshape bone, and remove dental cavities, for instance. Not to mention, lasers can be used to enhance in-office tooth whitening procedures.

This information may sound a little bit scary, however, laser dentistry has a reputation of being minimally invasive with minimal discomfort. Lasers have been reported to have benefits of quicker healing times post-procedure, and reduced bleeding, pain, risk of infection, and damage to adjacent oral tissues. Plus, some laser procedures do not even require local anesthesia. However, according to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), there is not adequate evidence to conclude whether or not laser treatment is better than conventional periodontal treatments. In addition, there are some cons to laser treatment. Lasers cannot be used in many instances such as on large cavities or old fillings. Also, conventional drills may still be needed to complete a procedure when a laser is used. Regarding cost, the price of laser treatments can differ depending on the specific procedure being performed.

Dental lasers used by trained dental professionals have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for their safety and efficacy. When dental lasers are used, personal protective equipment is necessary including appropriate eye wear.

Speak with your dentist to see if laser treatment is right for your specific dental needs. Most importantly, practicing good oral hygiene is one of the best treatments available.