How Laser Dentistry Improves Your Dental Experience

From Blu-ray to LASIK eye surgery, lasers have revolutionized entertainment, medicine, business, technology, and—you guessed it—dentistry. Once an iconic sci-fi weapon of the 1960s, lasers have now become so commonplace (think barcode scanners, laser printers, and cat toys) that you probably don’t even notice their presence.

If you’re looking to improve your dental experience, oral health, and smile’s appearance, laser dentistry is worth noticing. Here are 10 facts about laser dentistry that highlight why lasers are better for your smile’s overall comfort, health, and beauty.

1. Dental lasers are minimally invasive.

For many patients, the idea of having a dental procedure is undesirable at best and unnerving at worst. The tissues of the mouth are delicate after all, so who wouldn’t feel the impulse to protect them from scalpels, sutures, and drills?

Of course, skipping out on the dental work you need does nothing to protect your gums and teeth in the long run. Indeed, the longer you wait to receive the treatment you need, the more likely you are to require more extensive dental work than you did in the first place to restore your oral health and well-being.

The good news comes with laser dentistry, which is minimally invasive when compared to  traditional dental treatment techniques. Dental lasers use light energy in a very narrow and focused beam to very precisely remove, cut, or shape soft and hard oral tissues (such as your gums and teeth). This precision allows dental lasers to keep more of your oral structures in place while accelerating healing (#6) and reducing tissue trauma, pain, infection, swelling, and bleeding (#5).

2. Laser dentistry can treat gum disease.

Effectively treating periodontal disease is essential for the health and beauty of your smile and your total well-being. Periodontal laser therapy uses a dental laser to gently and precisely remove inflamed gum tissue and bacteria from around the root of the tooth for the most effective scaling and root planing. Because it sterilizes the affected area and is less invasive than conventional oral surgery, periodontal laser therapy minimizes post-operative pain, bleeding, swelling, and infection risk while shortening the time needed for recovery.

3. And it can fix cavities without a drill.

Few things have given dentists a bad rap quite like the dental drill. Though an undeniably effective method for removing tooth decay, most patients have at least some aversion to receiving a shot of local anesthesia before a high-pitched drill starts buzzing and boring away.

Thanks to laser dentistry, you and your family can say goodbye to the dental drill during cavity treatment (and, most likely, the shot of local anesthesia, too). Alongside zapping harmful bacteria from a cavity, dental lasers can precisely remove tooth decay and prepare the surrounding enamel for a filling while preserving more of your natural tooth structure than a traditional cavity treatment. Laser dentistry cavity treatment is even safe for kids and can provide a more welcoming alternative for children who are afraid of the dentist.

4. Laser dentistry can assist with root canal therapy.

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “I’d rather have a root canal,” you won’t be surprised to learn that the idea of root canal therapy is one of the top reasons why people avoid or fear the dentist. (Of course, not having a root canal when you need one is more likely to cause you pain than root canal therapy itself).

Like traditional cavity treatment, traditional root canal therapy uses a dental drill to access and treat the inner structure (called pulp) of affected teeth. With laser-assisted root canal therapy, your dentist can access the inflamed or infected pulp without the use of a dental drill and, in some cases, without the need for local anesthetic. A dental laser can also target bacteria and infection with greater accuracy, which can help to keep more of your natural tooth structure intact while keeping the risk of infection at bay.

5. Dental lasers minimize tissue trauma.

Thanks to their accuracy and precision, dental lasers minimize tissue damage and trauma, reducing the likelihood of pain, swelling, and bleeding after a dental procedure. Dental lasers also coagulate (clot) your tissues while they’re being treated, which further prevents excessive bleeding and the swelling that accompanies it.

6. And they promote faster healing.

Alongside reducing tissue trauma, swelling, and bleeding, lasers further promote faster healing by boosting cellular activity. Tissue cells absorb laser light and store its energy in a form they can use quickly, further prompting cellular regeneration and healing. Additionally, the laser beam sterilizes the treatment area immediately, minimizing the risk of infection post-treatment.

7. Dental lasers are safe for patients with pacemakers, dental implants, and metal orthodontics.

Electrosurgery techniques have been used in dentistry for decades to shape, cut, coagulate, and treat soft oral tissues. Though electrosurgery has some similar advantages to laser dentistry (it’s less invasive than a scalpel), it may not be safe for some patients. For instance, electrosurgery can cause electrical interference for patients with pacemakers or conduct too much heat for patients with metal dental or orthodontic appliances. Because lasers don’t conduct electricity or high heat, they can be safely used for patients who aren’t good candidates for electrosurgery techniques.

8. Laser dentistry is a gentle option for treating cold sores,  snoring, and tooth sensitivity.

As they can be used on any of the mouth’s tissues, dental lasers can help you address troublesome oral health and overall health conditions, such as cold sores, canker sores, snoring, sleep apnea, and tooth hypersensitivity.

For cold sore and canker sore treatment, your dentist will apply the laser to the affected tissues for several minutes to eradicate the infection and seal exposed nerve endings. This safe, simple, and non-invasive treatment provides immediate pain relief, prevents scarring, reduces the chance of recurrence, and accelerates sore healing (usually within 24 to 72 hours).

To reduce snoring and sleep apnea symptoms, your dentist will direct a specialized dental laser at the back of the throat to encourage the posterior palatal tissues to tone and tighten. Typically repeated a total of three times over the course of several weeks, this non-surgical laser snoring treatment helps to open the airway, improve breathing, and reduce snoring intensity.

For tooth hypersensitivity, your dentist will simply wave a dental laser over targeted teeth to seal dentin tubules, diminishing or eliminating hypersensitivity. The positive effects of a laser dentistry treatment for tooth sensitivity requires no anesthesia, can be felt immediately, and often lasts for years.

9. Laser dentistry can beautify your smile’s appearance.

The versatility of dental lasers can also help you improve your smile’s shade and shape. By activating the hydrogen peroxide oxygen molecules in professional whitening treatments, dental lasers help to safely break down stains and whiten your teeth in less time than conventional whitening treatments. As an added bonus, the use of a dental laser in whitening treatments can even help you prevent or reduce the tooth hypersensitivity that often accompanies any whitening treatment. And for patients with a higher proportion of gum tissue (often called a “gummy smile”), laser dentistry can help give your smile a more balanced appearance with a cosmetic gum contouring treatment.

10. Laser dentistry helps you have a better dental experience.

With their ability to reduce pain, accelerate healing, and elevate your smile’s overall health and beauty, laser dentistry is one of the best ways you can enjoy a more positive experience each time you visit your dental office for restorative and cosmetic dentistry treatments.

To experience the benefits that laser dentistry can give to your oral health and overall well-being, contact Berrien Dental to schedule your next appointment today.