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The Roles Of Lasers In Modern Dentistry

Beginning in the mid-1990’s, the use of lasers in various dental treatments began to become common; and today, they are used for in a wide variety of procedures – most notably in laser periodontal treatment.
Lasers designed for use in dentistry have long been FDA-approved, while the more cautious ADA has refrained from official approval and simply said it is “cautiously optimistic” about their value as an alternative dental tool. However, note that millions of people have benefited greatly from laser-assisted dentistry over the past 25 years and that many thousands of dentists and periodontists can attest to the great improvements laser dental surgery has meant (not to mention the approval of numerous schools of dentistry.)

Common Uses Of Lasers In Dentistry
We’ll zero in on laser periodontal treatment in a minute just below, but first, let’s look at some of the other ways lasers have powerful results in modern dentistry. It’s important to remember that different lasers affect tissues differently depending on the medium used to generate the beam of light waves. CO2 lasers have a different effect than NdYag or Diode lasers. They can be literally apples and oranges in effect. There are many different laser mediums.

First, dental lasers can be used to eliminate decay inside of a tooth. It is helpful in cleaning out a cavity that has just been removed before putting in a filling. Similarly, lasers can also be used in cleaning out a root canal tooth before filling it with gutta percha.

Second, lasers are used to remove small portions of tissue from the inner mouth, such as lesions or canker sores. And, they can be used to gather tissue for a biopsy, such as for a cancer screening test, in as painless a way as possible.

Third, specially designed lasers are used by dental practitioners to assist in teeth whitening. Specifically, the peroxide-bleach whitening agents used by many dentists are activated and sped up when exposed to laser light, which means your teeth get white faster!

Lasers In Periodontal Treatment
One of the most impressive uses of lasers in the dental office today is in treating advanced forms of gum disease. While you can use lasers for any kind of gum treatment, they are usually reserved for the more difficult cases where infection is well advanced and/or the disease is widespread throughout the mouth.

Lasers used in periodontal treatment can be set to pulsate at different strengths, which means they can adjust to just the right depth to cut at. Different settings are best for killing bacteria on tooth root surfaces, for example, versus cutting off or vaporizing portions of infected gum tissue or using the laser to cauterize the areas just cut so as to prevent bleeding.

What are the benefits of using lasers to treat periodontitis or other forms and stages of gum disease? Here are the main ones:

  • Treatment is faster and can normally be done is single sitting.
  • There is often less post operative pain and swelling with the LANAP , approach to periodontal therapy than with conventional surgical approach.
  • There is very little bleeding or swelling of the gums post-op as compared with more traditional periodontal treatment techniques.
  • Kills off harmful bacteria much more effectively than other methods, which seems to reduce the rate of recurring periodontal infections.
  • Saves good, healthy gum tissue due to the pinpoint accuracy of the laser when cutting away the bad, infected tissue.
  • Can be used to treat advanced periodontal disease without extracting some teeth or using bone graft augmentation on deeper bone defects.

To learn more about laser periodontal treatment or other laser dental techniques, contact periodontist Dr. Raymond A. Kenzik in Ormond Beach, Florida, today!

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