Application of Laser Dentistry
The application of lasers in dentistry opens the door for dentists to perform a wide variety of dental procedures they otherwise may not be capable of performing. Dentists using lasers in dentistry have become adept at incorporating the state-of-the-art precision technology into a number of common and not-so-common procedures.
Hard Tissue (Tooth) Laser Dentistry Procedures
- Cavity Detector: Low intensity soft tissue dental lasers may be used for the early detection of cavities by providing a reading of the by-products produced by tooth decay.
- Dental Fillings/Tooth Preparation: Hard tissue dental lasers may eliminate the need for a local anesthetic injection and the traditional turbine dental drill. Lasers used in dental filling procedures are capable of killing bacteria located in a cavity, potentially leading to improved long term tooth restorations. However, dental lasers are not appropriate for the replacement of amalgam fillings, onlays or crowns.
- Tooth Sensitivity: Dental lasers may be used to seal tubules (located on the root of the tooth) that are responsible for hot and cold tooth sensitivity.
Soft Tissue (Gum) Laser Dentistry Procedures
- Crown Lengthening: Dental lasers can reshape gum tissue (soft tissue laser) and bone (hard tissue laser) to expose healthier tooth structure. Referred to as crown lengthening, such reshaping provides a stronger foundation for the placement of restorations.
- Gummy Smile: Dental lasers can reshape gum tissue to expose healthy tooth structure and improve the appearance of a gummy smile.
- Muscle Attachment (Frenula): A laser frenectomy is an ideal treatment option for children who are tongue tied (restricted or tight frenulum) and babies unable to breast feed adequately due to limited tongue movement. A laser frenectomy may also help to eliminate speech impediments.
- Soft Tissue Folds (Epulis): Dental lasers may be used for the painless and suture-free removal of soft tissue folds often caused by ill-fitting dentures.
Other Laser Dentistry Applications
- Viewing Tooth and Gum Tissues: Optical Coherence Tomography is a safer way to see inside tooth and gums in real time.
- Benign Tumors: Dental lasers may be used for the painless and suture-free removal of benign tumors from the gums, palate, sides of cheeks and lips.
- Cold Sores: Low intensity dental lasers reduce pain associated with cold sores and minimize healing time.
- Nerve Regeneration: Photobiomodulation can be used to regenerate damaged nerves, blood vessels and scars.
- Sleep Apnea: In cases where sleep apnea is a result of a tissue overgrowth in areas of the throat (which sometimes occurs with age), a laser assisted uvuloplasty or laser assisted uvula palatoplasty (LAUP) procedure can be performed to reshape the throat and relieve the correlating breathing problems associated with sleep apnea.
- Teeth Whitening: Low intensity soft tissue dental lasers may be used to speed up the bleaching process associated with teeth whitening.
- Temporomandibular Joint Treatment: Dental lasers may be used to quickly reduce pain and inflammation of the temporomandibular jaw joint.