When interviewing patients that have dental anxiety, I find that most people have an aversion to the sound and feel of the dental drill. The high-pitched whining and the vibration caused by the drill have patients gripping the armrests of the dental chair. Technology has provided an alternative — laser dentistry.
How does it work?
Dentists use focused light to remove or modify hard and soft tissue. Using the two optimal laser wavelengths (Er:YAG and Nd:YAG), a dentist can perform a variety of procedures. The Er:YAG laser is best used for vaporizing hard and soft tissue. The Nd:YAG laser is best used for blood coagulation and disinfection. Fine tuning the energy and the frequency of the beam allows the dentist to perform more conservatively with minimal discomfort to the patient. We asked a recent patient about his first time getting a filling with a laser. He said, “It was so efficient and almost completely painless.” He also commented that it was, “wonderful and a great experience.”
The benefits of laser dentistry
Patient comfort — The dental visit is less stressful because discomfort and bleeding is kept to a minimum. Precise use of the laser can have a numbing effect on the nerves in the tooth reducing the need for anesthetic.
Shorter dental visits — Skipping the anesthetic can greatly reduce dental chair time. Greater precision and accuracy lets the dentist work more efficiently.
Conservative treatment — Laser treatment of tooth decay and gum disease usually results in less damaged tissue and quicker healing times.
Infection control — Dental lasers are effective at removing microbial biofilm. Photoacoustics can help with removal of nerve tissue and bacteria during root canal therapy. Heat from the Nd:YAG laser aids with decontamination of the surgical site.
Tooth whitening — Lasers can activate whitening gels more completely than UV lights. Tight control of frequency and power of the laser can decrease tooth sensitivity after whitening.
Lasers used in dentistry can perform a variety of treatments.
Laser-induced collagen stimulation can help decrease or eliminate snoring and sleep apnea by improving the tone of the soft palate and uvula.
Various facial esthetic procedures can be done by modifying soft tissues in the mouth.
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or Photobiomodulation can be used to help the body heal from injury and help deal with chronic pain.
Laser removal of various skin and oral lesions is efficient and less traumatic than conventional methods.
Removing tongue ties and frenum attachments is quick and easy with the dental laser.
Having dental lasers in the office will not eliminate the need for dental drills, but using them can make dental treatments faster, more comfortable, and more effective.
For more information, please contact Dr. Albert Capati at email@example.com. Dr. Capati uses the Lightwalker ATS hard and soft tissue dental laser from Fotona.
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