How Are Lasers Used in Dentistry?

Among the recent technological advances in dentistry is the use of lasers. Lasers are efficient and precise, allowing the dentist to focus only on the area of the mouth that needs treatment. The success of laser dentistry lies in the ability of the dentist to maintain control over the power coming from the laser and how long the laser is used on the tooth structure or gums.

Patients who experience lots of anxiety when they visit the dentist may find that they prefer laser treatments because they reduce the need for needles and can cut down on both patient pain and recovery time.

What Procedures Can Lasers Be Used For?

There are numerous ways in which lasers can be used in the dental field. Some procedures that have been adapted for the use of lasers include:

  • Dental fillings – Hard tissue dental lasers may eliminate the need for local anesthetic injection and traditional turbine dental drill. They can kill bacteria that live inside cavities, perhaps resulting in improved outcomes of long-term tooth restorations. Please be aware, though, that lasers are not to be used to replace crowns, onlays, or amalgam fillings.
  • Reduction of tooth sensitivity – some patients’ teeth are extremely sensitive to heat and cold. These patients may find relief from the use of lasers to seal the tubules in the roots of the teeth, a major source of this sensitivity.
  • Detecting cavities – when a low-intensity, soft-tissue dental laser hits an area of the mouth that is experiencing tooth decay, it gives off different reading according to the by-product produced by caries, than when it hits a healthy area. This can help dentists locate cavities, which can then be treated.
  • Frenectomy – some patients, particularly children and babies, are unable to move their tongues in a full range of motion (tongue tied). This can severely limit their ability to breast feed, eat, and talk. Lasers can be used to release the tongue from its bonds, allowing the tongue to function normally.
  • Reduction of the gum tissue to expose more of the tooth in gummy smile patients – this procedure, which exists to improve what is sometimes referred to as a “gummy smile,” consists of lasers being employed to sculpt the gum tissue in such a way as to better show off the patient’s healthy teeth.
  • Epulis (Soft Tissue Folds) – when a patient’s dentures do not fit properly, the patient may develop soft tissue folds, which can be taken out painlessly and without stitches through the use of dental laser technology.
  • Crown lengthening – when a laser is employed to reshape the patient’s bone (hard tissue laser) and gum tissue (soft tissue laser) in order to reveal more of their healthy teeth and serve as a solid base upon which restorations can be done.
  • Tooth whitening – low-intensity dental lasers can accelerate the bleaching process during a tooth whitening treatment.
  • Treatment of cold sores – some patients can get relief from painful cold sores using low-intensity dental lasers. At times, laser treatments have also reduced cold sore healing times.
  • Removal of benign tumors – if a patient has benign tumors on their cheeks, lips, gums, or palate, these can sometimes be removed via laser without stitches or pain.
  • Temporomandibular joint treatment – if a patient’s temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is inflamed and causing the patient pain, dental lasers can help alleviate these symptoms.
  • Nerve repair – in cases where the patient has injured blood vessels, nerves, and scars, dental lasers can be used in a process called photobiomodulation in order to repair these damaged areas.
  • Viewing gum tissues and teeth – a new technology called Optical Coherence Tomography can help dentists take a peek inside the gums and teeth in “real time.”
  • Sleep apnea treatment – obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the patient’s airway is blocked, causing them to stop breathing in their sleep. One possible source of this blockage is the overgrowth of tissues in the throat (which can happen as a patient ages). In such cases, the dentist can use a laser to reshape the throat tissue in order to alleviate the sleep apnea symptoms. The two different ways this can be accomplished are through laser-assisted uvuloplasty or laser-assisted palatoplasty (LAUP).

What Are the Benefits of Laser Dentistry?

At Empress Walk Dental, we strive to always be able to treat our patients using the very latest in dental technology. As such, we have been very excited by the new developments with dental lasers. We have chosen to incorporate laser dentistry into our practice because we recognize that there are many benefits to laser use, including:

  • Elimination of the need for stitches (also known as sutures) in many procedures involving soft tissue dental lasers
  • Reduction in damage to surrounding tissues due to the precision and efficiency afforded by laser technology
  • Quicker healing with improved tissue regeneration
  • Fewer instances of bacterial infections due to the fact that the lasers sterilize the areas where they are used
  • No need for anesthesia in some cases
  • Reduction in blood loss due to the fact that the laser helps exposed blood vessels form the clots necessary to stop blood flow
  • Relief for anxious patients who freak out around needles

If you would like to learn more about laser dentistry or are interested in setting up an appointment at one of our convenient Toronto or North York locations, call Empress Walk Dental today at 416-250-8000!

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5095 Yonge St, Unit A1, North York, ON M2N 6Z4

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