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Laser Dentistry

Laser Dentistry

Laser dentistry has proved beneficial for various purposes such as gum reshaping, teeth whitening, cavity removal, and to harden the bonding material used in fillings. It is also used for periodontal care such as removing bacteria from the periodontal pockets. The article provides some useful information this new technique.
Reshma Jirage
The use of laser in dentistry is FDA approved and a comparatively new technique. It is used for the treatment of tooth decay, gum problems, lesion removal, and teeth whitening. These procedures are painless and comfortable for the patient.
All the common complaints of traditional methods such as pain, possibility of bleeding, and long recovery time can be eliminated with this technique. In the field of dentistry, high-intensity light beams work as a cutting instrument. It also strengthens the bond between the tooth and the filling, and acts as a bleaching agent in teeth-whitening procedures.
Benefits
The method is an effective way to perform several dental procedures, which reduces the pain and recovery time. The dental procedures performed using this technique may not require sutures or anesthesia. As a high-energy laser beam causes coagulation of exposed blood vessels, bleeding during dental procedure is minimized.
Also, this light beam sterilizes the area to be treated, thereby reducing any chances of bacterial infections. The technique ensures minimum damage to the surrounding tissue and the decreases the recovery time.
Applications
This technique can be applied to a wide variety of dental procedures. Following are some of the examples:
  • Dental lasers are used for suture-free and painless removal of benign tumors developed at the palate, gums, sides of cheeks, and on the lips.
  • The soft tissue dental lasers might be used for the early detection of cavities in the tooth, and can detect the by-products produced during tooth decay.
  • Tooth and gum tissues can be safely viewed by using Optical Coherence Tomography.
  • Low dentistry dental lasers can reduce the pain related to cold sores and also minimize the healing time.
  • This technique helps reshape the gum tissue and bone to ensure healthier tooth structure. Such reshaping is known as crown lengthening and it provides a strong foundation for restoration.
  • The hard tissue dental lasers minimize the need for local anesthesia and traditional turbine drill, Also, the bacteria located in the tooth cavity might also get destroyed in the process. This is helpful for a long-term tooth restoration.
  • A laser frenectomy is beneficial for children who have restricted or tight frenulum (tied tongue), and for the babies who are unable to breastfeed properly because of limited tongue movement. A laser frenectomy is also helpful to minimize speech impediments.
  • Photobiomodulation (low level laser therapy) can be applied to regenerate the damaged blood vessels, nerves, and scars.
  • In some cases, sleep apnea (shallow breaths while sleeping) may result from a tissue overgrowth in the areas of throat, which may be related to aging. In such cases, a Laser Assisted Uvula Palatoplasty (LAUP) or laser assisted uvuloplasty procedure is performed, in order to reshape the throat and relieve the breathing problems related to sleep apnea.
  • Dental lasers are used for suture-free and painless removal of soft tissue folds (Epulis) caused by ill-fitting dentures.
  • Bleaching of teeth can be done effectively with low intensity soft tissue dental lasers.
  • Laser dentistry helps reduce inflammation and pain of the temporomandibular jaw joint treatment.
  • The gum tissue can be reshaped with dental lasers. It can help ensure a healthy tooth structure, and can improve the appearance of a gummy smile.
  • The tubules located on the root of the tooth can be sealed using the dental lasers. These tubules are responsible for sensitivity of the tooth to hot and cold food.
Disadvantages/Drawbacks
Dental lasers cannot be used on teeth that already have fillings. Also, the technique cannot be used in certain cases like filling cavities between the teeth, around the old fillings, and in the large cavities prepared for a crown. Besides this technique can't be used to remove silver fillings, defective crowns, or to prepare the teeth for bridges.
The traditional dental drills are still required to shape and polish the filling, even though a laser is used. Also, this treatment is relatively more expensive.
Laser dentistry is a painless and suture-free procedure that can be effectively used to eliminate a number of dental problems. Hence, this technique is preferred by many patients as a comfortable and convenient treatment option.