Let’s be honest for a quick second – not everybody likes going to the dentist. Even the mention of a dental visit is enough to send chills down the spine for many. The poking, the prodding, the strange noises, and the scary-looking instruments can seem a bit much. What if we were to tell you that there is an alternative option? One where you can get routine dental visits in and don’t have to compromise your oral health? If you’re wondering what we are talking about, the answer is laser dentistry.
Sounds super complicated. If you’re feeling apprehensive about laser dentistry, let us tell you that it is a quick and efficient way of treating many dental conditions. Keep reading to find out more.
What is Laser Dentistry?
Laser dentistry – as the name suggests – uses medical-grade lasers to treat various dental problems. Since its first use in clinical dental practice in 1989, it has gained significant traction, and many dentists offer laser treatment in their clinics today.
Laser dentistry is popular because it offers a more comfortable treatment option for people with dental phobias.
LASER stands for “light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation.” The instrument creates a very narrow and focused beam of light energy. When it hits tissue, it produces a reaction allowing the dentist to remove or shape a tooth’s hard and soft tissues.
Laser dentistry is beneficial in treating a variety of conditions, including –
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
They make dental treatments more comfortable, efficient, and cost-effective.
Types of Lasers
Dental experts use one of two types of lasers, depending on the treatment –
- Hard tissue lasers
- Soft tissue lasers
Some might even use both if the treatment allows.
Hard Tissue Lasers
These can cut through the tooth structure. They are absorbed through a combination of a specific tooth mineral and water.
Hard tissue lasers are commonly used to prep and shape teeth for dental bonding, repairing worn-down dental fillings, and removing tooth structure.
Soft Tissue Lasers
These penetrate the tissue and seal nerve endings and blood vessels. This is why people experience no pain after laser treatment. Lasers also promote faster healing of the tissues.
Soft tissue lasers are absorbed through hemoglobin (a protein found in red blood cells) and water.
They commonly treat periodontitis, including activating tissue regrowth and killing bacteria.
The Uses of Laser Dentistry
Hard and soft tissue procedures are the two main uses of laser dentistry. Hard tissue refers to the teeth, and soft tissue refers to the gums.
Common Hard Tissue Procedures
- Lasers can detect cavities early by finding evidence of tooth decay.,Unlike traditional tooth preparation and fillings, laser dentistry doesn’t require local anesthesia. Lasers kill bacteria in a cavity, aiding in the long-term health of a tooth.
- Lasers can seal tubules on a tooth’s root, helping treat tooth sensitivity to hot and cold.
Common Soft Tissue Procedures
- Lasers can reshape gum tissue, treating a gummy smile.
- The laser can help lengthen a crown by reshaping gum tissue and bone. This, in turn, is great when the restoration has to be placed on the tooth.
- Lasers can remove soft tissue folds without pain or sutures – this is great, especially in the case of ill-fitting dentures.
- The frenulum is a fold of skin under the front part of the tongue that is fixed to the mouth floor. Children with a thick or tight frenulum can face difficulty breastfeeding, be tongue-tied, and have speech impediments. Such kids can significantly benefit from laser frenectomy.
Other popular uses of laser dentistry include –
- Viewing the inside of a tooth or gum tissue.
- Removing benign tumors from the gums, palate, sides of lips, and cheeks through a painless and suture-free method.
- Treating sleep apnea by removing tissue overgrowth in the throat.
- Reducing pain and inflammation in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
- Helping regenerate damaged nerves, blood vessels, and scars.
- Minimizing the healing time and reducing pain caused by cold sores.
- Speeding up the bleaching process during teeth-whitening sessions.
Benefits of Laser Dentistry
Dental lasers brag many advantages over traditional dental instruments, some of which are –
- Reduced dental anxiety
- Minimally invasive
- Less painful
- Less damage to the teeth, gums, and other tissues
- Stitches aren’t usually necessary
- Faster healing times for most patients
- Less discomfort, swelling, and pain
- Less blood loss since lasers improve blood clotting
- Lower chance of infection because lasers kill bacteria
- Higher chance of tissue regeneration than traditional methods
- Local anesthesia or numbing is not necessary for some laser dentistry treatments
Cost of Laser Dentistry
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that laser dentistry is considerably more expensive than traditional dental methods. This is usually due to the cost of the dental lasers themselves. A laser can cost anywhere between $6,000 and $100,000. On the other hand, a dental drill usually costs $1,000 or less.
Using a laser also involves specific training and safety gear – uncommon to all dentists. This also contributes to the higher price point.
Is Laser Dentistry Safe?
Most dental experts consider laser dentistry safer than traditional dental methods because it is less messy and offers precise control. In 1997, lasers were approved for dental surgical use by the FDA.
However, like any other treatment, laser dentistry has some risks. These depend on the exact procedure and what tissues are affected. Potential risks include –
- Damage to the gums around the surgical area
- Damage to the tooth pulp
- Damage to your eyes from looking directly at the laser beam.
Proper safety precautions minimize the risks of laser dentistry. Laser equipment must be tested regularly to ensure its proper working.
Additionally, during a laser dentistry procedure, anyone in the room must wear protective eyewear to shield their eyes. Furthermore, like parents accompanying their children, anyone visiting the office must wear protective shields.
Laser Dentistry at Brooklyn Boulevard Dental, MN
At Brooklyn Boulevard Dental, we believe there is always time to start the journey to good oral health. So if it’s been a while since your last visit to the dentist, don’t sweat it – we’re here for you, no judgments.
Getting laser dentistry treatment can be a great way to make your dental experience more comfortable and less invasive. Our dental experts – Doctors Kotonias, Tu, and Spanish – welcome you to our dental practice to experience the magic of laser dentistry if your case allows.
However, before we decide on any laser-assisted dental treatment, we will assess whether you are a suitable candidate. Depending on the dental treatment you require, we may be to offer you a painless and comfortable experience using laser dentistry.
If you want to know more about laser dentistry at the Brooklyn Blvd Dental clinic, you can schedule an appointment by calling (763) 533-8669. Please feel free to also request an appointment by filling out this form.