Published: 12/10/2018

Oral health and hygiene can have a strong impact on almost every aspect of your life. From your physical and mental well-being to your confidence and self-esteem, your teeth, gums, and mouth are important. Today’s dentistry world offers you a variety of innovative and modern treatment options for a variety of issues and oral complications. And with laser dentistry, some of those same procedures have become even better. Here’s everything you need to know about laser dentistry to help you learn more about what it can do for you.

What Is Laser Dentistry?

Laser dentistry

Close up of ultraviolet light procedure at dentist’s office

Introduced widely in the 1990s, laser dentistry is a precise and very effective way to perform a variety of dental treatments and procedures. In this type of dentistry, laser technology is used instead of the traditional dental tools you would expect. Laser technology can come in a variety of forms, each with its own characteristics that make it ideal for a particular procedure. Many patients have found preference with laser dentistry procedures for its minimal pain and side effects, reduction of anxiety or discomfort, quick and easy process, and preservation of oral health for the long-haul.

How it Works

Laser technology works essentially the same way, no matter what application it is being used for. Lasers deliver very high energy into a measurable form of light. For medical and dental applications, laser technology is typically used to vaporize or cut tissue or to heat and enhance the effects of certain agents.

Types of Laser Technology Used

The laser technology used in laser dentistry falls into two, generalized categories. Each category of laser types is characterized by certain qualities and include the following:

Hard Tissue Lasers: These types of lasers are effective at cutting through the structure of the tooth because they contain a wavelength that is easily absorbed by the calcium phosphate salt that is found in your bones. Hard tissue lasers are generally used for precision cutting, shaping, or prepping.

Soft Tissue Lasers: These types of lasers use a wavelength that is easily absorbed by the oxygenating protein found in your red blood cells. This makes these lasers best for “softer” tissue, allowing bacteria and bad tissue to be removed while promoting quick and painless healing.

Some laser technology can even include both wavelength types, which allows a dentist to switch between what is needed at the time. Other lasers can be used as a non-invasive, imaging technique that allows a dentist to see inside of your teeth and cells.

The Ins-and-Outs of Laser Dentistry

Child undergoing laser dentistry

Child in the dental chair dental treatment during laser dentistry.

What it Can Be Used For

Laser technology has been used to treat a variety of dental issues throughout the years. Though the world of dentistry is always growing and expanding, here are the procedures in which laser dentistry is used most for:

  • Fillings and tooth preparation: Eliminating the need for injections and drills, lasers can kill bacteria within a decaying tooth and prep it for fillings.
  • Detection of cavities: Soft tissue lasers can detect and read by-products made from tooth decay and help dentists spot cavities, decay, and gum disease.
  • Sensitivity in teeth: Many people suffer from sensitivity to cold and heat because of unsealed tubules located at the root of the teeth. Hard tissue lasers can help seal these and reduce sensitivity.
  • Gum and bone reshaping: With a laser, dentists can reshape gum and bone tissue to provide you with a healthier structure of the teeth. This can provide strong foundations for other procedures, as well as improve a “gummy” smile.
  • Teeth whitening: Lasers with low-intensity wavelengths can help speed up the process of whitening your teeth.
  • Joint treatment: Surprisingly enough, laser dentistry can even be used to reduce pain and inflammation experienced in the jawbone/joint.
  • Sleep apnea: For those who have sleep apnea caused by an overgrowth of tissue within the throat, a laser can be used to reshape the tissue and reduce breathing problems.
  • Removal of lesions or biopsy: Lasers are one of the most effective and best ways to remove benign tumors from cheeks, lips, gums, and palate, as well as canker sores and cold sores. Lasers are also used to perform biopsies, which involve removing small pieces of tissue for the purpose of testing for cancerous cells.

Though laser technology can be used for a variety of procedures and treatments, it cannot be used for all. Some things that cannot be done with laser technology include work on teeth that already have fillings and the removal of crowns or metal fillings. It is important to consult with your dentist about specific applications as they apply to your needs.

Is Laser Dentistry Safe?

Laser technology used for dental procedures is approved by the FDA for its safety and effectiveness. In fact, patients who receive laser dentistry treatments typically heal faster and experience less pain and infection than those undergoing traditional treatment options. Many patients do not require anesthesia for their laser procedures and do not require stitches or sutures following the procedure because laser technology ensures damage to any tissue is minimal.

Cost of Laser Dentistry

Procedures performed with laser technology can vary greatly in cost depending on a variety of factors. Dental insurance, procedure type, and severity all play strong roles in the cost of your overall, laser dentistry procedure. But it is important to understand that with these types of procedures, technology plays the largest part. Having that technology is also costly to the dental team. Laser technology offers a variety of benefits and advantages over traditional treatment options and therefore tends to be more costly than the latter. Laser dentistry can cost anywhere between thousands and tens-of-thousands of dollars, depending on the procedure and type of laser.

Learn More About Laser Dentistry

At Shore Smiles Dental, we specialize in all the latest and most innovative dental procedures and treatments in the industry. From the simplest exams to the most complex dental issues, we’re here to help you receive your healthiest, most beautiful smile that will last for years to come. To find out more about laser dentistry and see how we can help you, contact the professionals at our office today to schedule your appointment!

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