Laser dentistry could be a replacement for needles, the bane of your existence.

Though not a perfect substitute for everything you don’t like about your dentist, it has some significant advantages.

In this article we will explore the benefits of laser dentistry, it’s accuracy  and the procedures that use laser. But first, I need to explain what it is.

image of smiling woman -article laser dentistry

Let There Be Light

A laser is a special kind of light with an intense, focused beam and a very specific wavelength or single color. Daylight from the sun on the other hand, consists of a spectrum of visible colors.  You can best observe this using a prism.

image of a prism separating light into colors-article on laser dentistry

White light passes through a prism and separated into a rainbow of colors.

White light separates into a rainbow spectrum of colors. It’s amazing that white light is really a blend of visible colors. An acronym for the visible colors that make up white light is ROY G BIV. It is a reminder of the rainbow colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Laser light is a single “color” of light. It has one specific wavelength that corresponds to its particular color. When shined through a prism there is no separation of the emerging light. It has the same color leaving the prism as entering and it does not spread out. That unique property allows lasers to be engineered to affect specific types of human tissues.

image of a prism showing laser light cannot be separated into any other colors

Laser light cannot be separated into any other colors since it is a single colors.

Water is one material in human tissue that absorbs laser light, hemoglobin in blood is another and melanin is a third. Selecting the most appropriate laser “color” or wavelength for the desired outcome is the key decision.

Some laser wavelengths are best suited for treating muscle damage. While others are used for removing cavities, trimming bone or eye surgery.

1. Lasers- The Substitute For The Cold Steel Scalpel

Lasers used as a substitute for a scalpel for surgery have a variety of advantages. In many cases minimal or no anesthetic is required. That means fewer or no shots for you. Is this always the case? Unfortunate no.

In spite of the need for an anesthetic,  laser surgery for soft tissue has many advantages. Your dentist can better see what he is doing because there is little or no bleeding. And that means shorter treatment times. And no often sutures for you.

The accuracy of a dental laser is quite impressive. While the ability of computer controlled specialty lasers for eye surgery is the ultimate in laser accuracy, dental lasers do not require such precise control. A laser beam slightly wider than a scalpel has the advantage of no bleeding. With no bleeding during surgery your doctor can see better, and that’s a good thing.

2. Lasers Provide Bio-Stimulation

Another benefit of laser dentistry for soft tissue surgery is something called bio-stimulation. Laser light literally initiates cell vibration, stimulating mitochondria, the powerhouse of cellular energy. The cells produce more energy for an extended period of time, increasing the rate of healing. Laser irradiated wounds heal faster, with less swelling and less pain. Dental stem cell growth and cell duplication also goes up dramatically, as well as collagen production. That translates to quicker and more comfortable healing for you.

image of vibrating mitochondria-article on laser dentistry

Laser light literally initiates cell vibration, stimulating mitochondria, the powerhouse of cellular energy.

Laser Use in Gum Disease

Periodontitis, or gum disease affects 47% of adults over 30 years of age. That’s awful amount of bad breath. If it’s not you, it’s likely the friend you were just talking to.

Your bleeding gums and the bone destruction caused by bacterial gum infection is rampant. It causes the needless bad breath, tooth loss, and the self-consciousness that brings.

This is where laser dentistry comes to the rescue. Sure, you’ve heard it’s necessary to have a routine dental “cleaning” once every six months.That’s what’s recommended. Are you keeping up? What if it’s been a while? What if it’s been a long while?

Bad Breath And Bleeding Gums

If you’ve got sore and bleeding gums it is frequently caused by hard crusty deposits on your teeth and bacterial gook. It’s necessary to remove these things because they cause irritation and inflammation. I you want relief, removing this stuff starts the healing process. Getting it off your teeth also helps your doctor come up with a more accurate diagnosis, and more complete understanding of the extent of your problem.

Step number one is getting the chunks of hardened plaque off your teeth. The hardened plaque is officially called calculus or tartar.  I like calling it barnacles. It’s like what you see on a piling, at an ocean pier, when the tide goes out.

image of-Hard deposits on your teeth are similar to living barnacles with wriggling bacteria on the surface.

Hard deposits on your teeth are similar to living barnacles with wriggling bacteria on the surface.

The outside layer of calculus or tartar on your teeth is covered with sticky wiggling bacteria, just like the barnacle organisms clinging to the piling.

3. Lasers Disinfect Your Gums

The dental laser can help with the removal of the chunks of calculus in addition it has other advantages. It kills bacteria disinfecting the region exposed to the laser light. And it speeds healing.

Bacteria cells contain bits of dark matter inside called chromophores. Laser light is absorbed by chromophores and the bacteria heat up and virtually explode.

I like that mental image, exploding bacteria. It serves them right. Regardless of whether they explode or not, they are killed by the laser light.

4. Laser Bacterial Reduction-StarWars in Your Mouth

LBR is the special procedure available at your dentist it stands for Laser Bacterial Reduction. Just shining the right laser light into gum crevices kills huge numbers of infecting bacteria. It’s laser tag where the bacteria are always the losers.

image of men playing laser tag-

Laser Bacterial Reduction-Laser Tag in your mouth killing bacterial invaders.

It’s so effective that the FDA has given special approval for lasers to be used specifically for this procedure. It takes months and months for the invading bacteria to begin returning to the same numbers as they started. You can see and feel the difference.

Lower bacteria numbers means reduced gingivitis with it’s bleeding gums, and reduced periodontitis with it’s visible and invisible gum recession. That means reduced gum bleeding, teeth that don’t wiggle, reduced pus production, fresher breath and improved overall health.

It is amazing to see the difference when you team up with your dentist who uses a dental laser to improve your gum health.

If it has not been offered to you before, you should request the LBR procedure from your dentist. Even though it’s not covered by any insurance. Why? Because you understand the benefits of minimizing harmful bacteria, which reduces gum disease with its negative consequences for your whole body.

Worried about bacteria in your mouth being spread from one spot to another? Have Laser Bacterial Reduction [LBR ]performed before your cleaning at your next appointment. Recommend it to your loved ones too.

5. Dental Lasers-The Artistic Dentist’s Cosmetic Advantage

Dentists have discovered the same advantages of lasers that cosmetic plastic surgeons have discovered. Lasers offer control and predictability. What’s good for the for plastic surgeon is good for your doctor, ultimately  providing a better outcome for you.

When it is necessary to sculpt your gum tissue to provide a an ideal cosmetic result, the laser is often the first choice.

Using traditional scalpel techniques for shaping tissue results in a greater degree of variability with the final cosmetic appearance. The laser in the right hands provides more of a WYSIWYG or What You See Is What You Get result.

Check Out Your Smile

Lasers are used everyday to improve smiles. Check out your smile. Take a look in a mirror or snap a selfie. Are your teeth real short? Do you have a gummy smile? Have you just gotten your braces off and have swollen gums hiding beautifully straight teeth?

Time for a dental laser to help you have the big reveal and get rid of the swollen gums you hate. It makes a huge difference.

 

 

 

 

 

Dental lasers allow the artistic dentist to sculpt a beautiful smile. The artful recon touring or shaping of gum tissue can improve symmetry. Does the right side look like the left side of the smile? If it doesn’t and gum tissue irregularities are the problem then the artistic dentist, equipped with a dental laser can sculpt your gum tissue and improve your smile.

Not every smile can be sculpted this way so your dentist will have to evaluate exactly where you stand. He will have to make some measurements and determine if there is excessive gum tissue that can be removed to improve the visibility of your beautiful teeth.

Occasionally advanced repositioning of gum tissue is necessary and the procedure becomes much more involved. But many situations can be resolved using just a dental laser avoiding scalpels and sutures.

One of the nice thing about using lasers is that they accomplish tissue changes with very little sensitivity after the procedure is over. And in many cases there is no sensitivity during the procedure either. On many occasions a topical anesthetic is beneficial and sufficient for treatment. Topical anesthetic is one that can be applied to the gum tissue using a cotton swab. That means no needles for you.

Another benefit of the laser is that it stimulates healing processes within cells. As the laser light shines into surrounding tissue it also stimulates stem cells and reduces inflammation. That means it heals faster more comfortably and with a more predictable outcome than using a scalpel or a blade to trim tissue.

6. Lasers Can Provide Shot Free Cavity Treatments

Lasers can also be used to remove dental caries or cavities. These particular lasers take advantage of the fact that water absorbs the laser energy. It heats rapidly and explodes in a little pop.

Using a combination of the pulsing laser and a water spray, a tiny amount of tooth can be blasted away each time the laser fires. Your doctor can trim away decayed parts of your tooth in many cases without the need for a shot. Wahoo!

Your doctor can also remove damaged tooth colored fillings and any decay that has seeped underneath them the same way. Only if there is sensitivity would a shot be required.

7. Noise Free Children’s Dentistry-The Laser Advantage

The use of lasers with children can be a huge benefit. Little noise is generated using the laser. Just a popping sound as decay is removed using a series of mini-explosion. Once all of the decay is removed, tooth colored fillings can be placed.

There is no vibration noticed, no significant noise and frequently no need for shots to numb the teeth being treated either. What’s not to like?

While dental lasers are a boon to your  comfort as a patient, and results can be amazing they are not the solution for all things dental.

white teeth

Lasers have a high initial dollar cost to your dentist along with significant time out of the office for training. The result is the cost of treatment using lasers will not be less expensive than traditional methods and may be considerably more. In the right hands they can be without comparison.

One downside of dental lasers for filling removal is that they cannot cut through metal. Removal and replacement of failing fillings whether cracked or with decay around the edges is impossible if they are mercury amalgam silver fillings.

They also cannot be used to efficiently shape your tooth for a veneer or porcelain crown placement. They cannot be used to remove defective crowns.

While not the perfect device for your dentist to use in all circumstances, you can certainly benefit from the use of dental lasers. They definitely have their niche.