Dental Lasers have been around since the 1960’s and while not a piece of equipment found in every dental office they are becoming more and more popular according to a review published by the National Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery (NJOMS). Lasers tout precision, accuracy and potentially less pain for patients. And because of this technology its making its way into dental appointments among more conventional dental tools.
What Is a Dental Laser?
Laser stands for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” Laser instruments emit a thin, concentrated beam of light energy. Light is calculated in wavelengths, and each wavelength generates an individual thermal output, so dentists can predict its interaction with a particular tissue. Consequently, some wavelengths are more conducive to performing certain procedures than others. For example, there are select lasers used for soft tissue surgeries while others are effective on hard tissues like tooth enamel and bone, notes the NJOMS.
Uses for Dental Lasers
The light emitted from a laser can remove or shape tissue, making it an effective tool in the following procedures:
- Removing tissue from a partially exposed wisdom tooth
- Reshaping gum tissue that has overgrown due to certain medications
- Removing and reshaping bone and gum tissue during crown lengthening procedures
- Removing inflamed gum tissue
- Removing muscle attachments that restrict tongue or lip movement
- Accelerating in-office tooth whitening procedures
- Reducing the discomfort from cold sores and cankers
- Removing small amounts of tooth enamel
- Preparing tooth enamel for composite bonding
- Repairing certain worn-down fillings
Benefits of Dental Lasers
Patients like laser procedures in place of drills or anesthesia, because it minimizes discomfort, reports the Consumer Guide to Dentistry. The need for sutures is lessened because bleeding is more controlled. The surrounding tissue suffers less damage, and healing times are faster than traditional treatment. And a huge benefit is bacteria are reduced at the surgical site because the light beam sterilizes the area, limiting the chance of infection.
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