Laser dentistry is a branch of dentistry that uses lasers to treat a number of dental conditions. They have been commercially used in clinical dental practice for procedures involving tooth tissue since 1989. When compared to drills and other non-laser tools, laser dentistry potentially offers a more comfortable treatment option for a number of dental procedures involving hard or soft tissue.
How do lasers work in dentistry?
Lasers emit a focused beam of intense light that can be used to remove or reshape tissue. In dentistry, lasers are used for a variety of different procedures, including:
- Crown lengthening
- Enamel shaping
- Gum contouring
- Removal of tooth decay
- Teeth whitening
What types of lasers are used?
The two most common types of lasers used in dentistry are carbon dioxide (CO₂) lasers and neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) lasers. CO₂ lasers are commonly used for soft tissue procedures, such as gum contouring. Nd:YAG lasers are commonly used for hard tissue procedures, such as enamel shaping.
What are lasers used for?
Lasers are also sometimes used to help with dental implant placement. Lasers can be used to create a small hole in the bone where the implant will be placed. This helps to ensure that the implant is placed in the correct location and helps to reduce surgical time.
What are the benefits of laser dentistry?
Lasers have many different benefits in dentistry. These benefits include:
- Less painful than traditional dental procedures
- They often decrease the need for sutures and decrease bleeding
- Lasers can be used to target specific areas, minimizing damage to surrounding tissue
- Fewer dental visits in many cases
- Recovery time is often shorter
Are there any risks associated with laser dentistry?
Laser dentistry is generally considered to be safe. With that said, as with any dental procedure, there are some risks associated with laser dentistry. These risks include:
- Damage to the tooth enamel
- Temporary numbness of the tongue or lips
Many of these are standard risks that are just as common with more traditional dental procedures. If you are considering laser dentistry, it is important to speak with your dentist about the risks and benefits of this type of treatment.
Finding a dentist who uses laser dentistry
If you are interested in laser dentistry, the first step is to find a dentist who uses this type of treatment. However, not all dentists use lasers, so you may need to do some research to find a provider in your area. You can start by asking your regular dentist if they offer laser dentistry. If they do not, they may be able to refer you to a dentist who does.
When searching for a dentist, it is important to make sure that they have experience with the type of procedure you are interested in.