Using Lasers in the Dental Industry
In dentistry, the laser is not something new. In fact, it has been in use since the early 1990s. However, although it’s already been some time since it has been introduced to the dental industry, it’s still a controversial subject, especially when it comes to its safety and how effective it is.
What Can Dentists Treat Using Lasers?
Dentists use lasers to treat:
- Tooth decay. In root canal procedures, lasers remove tooth decay and prepare the surrounding enamel for the filling.
- The laser can reshape gums and remove bacteria during root canal procedures.
- Biopsy or lesion removal. Lasers are used to remove a tiny piece of tissue when they should be examined for cancer. Lasers can also be used to remove lesions and remove the pain of canker sores.
- Teeth whitening. Lasers can speed up professional teeth whitening procedures. The bleaching solution is “activated” by its energy, which speeds up the whole process.
How Do Lasers Work in Dentistry?
All lasers work the same – by delivering energy in the form of light. When used for dental treatments, the laser serves as a vaporizer or a cutting instrument of the tissue. When used in teeth whitening, the laser works as a heat source and boosts the effect of bleaching agents. Now, let’s look at some of the benefits and possible risks of lasers in the dental industry.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a Laser in Dentistry?
- When being compared to the dental drill, lasers:
- May sometimes cause less pain, which reduces the need for anesthesia
- Reduces anxiety in patients who are not comfortable with using a dental drill
- During soft tissue treatments, it minimizes bleeding and swelling
- It can save a more significant part of a healthy tooth during cavity removal
- There is usually less need for sutures in soft tissue treatments
- There is less bleeding in the treatment of soft tissues, as the laser helps blood clotting
- In some procedures, anesthesia may not be necessary at all
- The probability of bacterial infections is lower since the laser sterilizes the area
- Wounds heal faster, and the tissue can regenerate better
- The laser procedures cause less damage to the tissues surrounding the tooth.
- They can’t be used on teeth with fillings
- They can’t be used in many conventional dental treatments, such as filling cavities between teeth, or large cavities that have to be prepared for a crown. They also cannot be used to remove silver fillings or defective crowns
- Traditional drills are still needed when shaping and polishing the filling,
- They can’t completely eliminate the need for anesthesia
- These treatments are usually more expensive because the cost of the laser is much higher than the price of a drill.
Possible Risks and Complications
The risks of laser for dental procedures are still not completely familiar since there hasn’t been enough evidence, or the results are vague. Like any laser treatment, there’s the probability of thermal damage to the tissues. There’s also the risk of bleeding, but relatively lower since laser helps blood coagulation.