While many dentists use traditional dentistry procedures, laser dentistry is becoming popular nowadays because of its convenient, quick, and pain-free techniques. The most common dental problems, such as gum disease and tooth decay, were once treated by traditional dentistry but are now treated by laser dentistry.
Traditional dentistry uses drills, enamel scissors, rotary tools, and cleaning brushes, which can cause vibrations that can lead to pain. In contrast, laser dentistry uses dental lasers, which can eliminate such pain and inconvenience. LASER is the abbreviation for “light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation.” When the laser hits tooth or gum tissues, it will emit an energy beam that removes or shapes the tissue.
Lasers are highly accurate, allowing your dentist to treat the specific area without hurting the surrounding teeth or gum tissue. They are safe to use in people of all ages. However, it cannot do certain procedures, including polishing, filling, or treating cavities in tight spaces.
Laser dentistry involves two types of procedures, including:
- Hard Tissue Procedures
- Treating tooth sensitivity
- Cavity detection
- Tooth preparation and dental fillings
- Soft Tissue Procedures
- Removing soft tissue folds
- Treating gummy smiles
- Treating tongue frenulum attachment
- Crown lengthening
- Other laser procedures include:
- Teeth whitening.
- Removing benign tumors from gums, palate, and sides of lips and cheeks.
- Viewing inside a tooth or gum tissue.
- Treating cold sores.
- Treating sleep apnea caused by tissue overgrowth in the throat.
Cost of Laser Treatments
The cost of laser treatments depends on the type of laser equipment and procedure used. However, laser treatments are cost-effective compared to traditional dentistry, as they can be completed in fewer sessions. Additionally, your dental insurance reimbursement costs are likely to remain the same as it would with conventional dentistry procedures. Discuss with your insurance agent about reimbursements related to laser dentistry procedures regarding your specific policy.
Types of Lasers Used
Dentists use either soft tissue or hard tissue lasers or sometimes both, depending on the treatment type.
Hard Tissue Lasers
They can cut through the tooth structure, and their wavelengths are absorbed through the combination of water and a mineral found in teeth. These lasers are mostly used to:
- Prepare or shape teeth for composite bonding.
- Remove some tooth structure.
- Repair worn-down fillings.
Soft Tissue Lasers
These lasers are absorbed through water and hemoglobin, a protein present in red blood cells. They seal blood vessels and nerve endings while they penetrate the tissue, causing no pain after the treatment and promoting faster healing. Soft tissue lasers are used to treat periodontitis, including killing bacteria and activating tissue regeneration.
Benefits of Laser Dentistry
- Soft tissue laser procedures are painless and suture-free.
- Laser minimizes swelling and bleeding, as it promotes blood clotting.
- Anesthesia is not required for certain laser procedures.
- The potential for bacterial infections is reduced because the laser sterilizes the area, accelerating the healing process and tissue regeneration.
- Laser procedures cause minimal damage to the surrounding tissues.
Disadvantages of Laser Dentistry
- Laser procedure has a risk of gum injury.
- Hard lasers can occasionally injure tooth pulp.
- Lasers cannot be used over teeth that contain metal amalgam fillings.
- Sometimes drills are required to complete fillings, including shaping and polishing the filling and adjusting the bite.
- Laser treatments are unsuitable for certain procedures, depending on the components involving the tooth or gums or preexisting surrounding tissue.
Though laser dentistry reduces the risk of side effects, finding an experienced and highly-qualified dentist is essential. First, weigh the risks and benefits of both traditional and laser procedures and then discuss with your dentist the appropriate dental approach to treat your condition effectively.
Our dentists in West Des Moines will treat your dental condition with the latest technology, focusing on your long-term oral health. Call us today to schedule an appointment.