The use of lasers in dentistry may sound a bit like science fiction, but it’s actually scientific fact! Laser technology was first applied to dentistry in the early 1960s and has been gaining popularity ever since. The best part of about dental lasers is that they don’t just have one application: lasers can be used in many aspects of dentistry, from diagnosis to treatment.
It’s possible to have a cavity growing on your tooth before it becomes easily visible to the naked eye. And the earlier a cavity is detected, the easier it is to treat. That’s why some dentists use a low-intensity laser to illuminate your tooth, making it easier to spot an incipient cavity before it gets worse.
Gum reshaping or contouring (also called a gum lift) may be recommended for either medical or cosmetic reasons. One of the biggest blessings of lasers in dentistry is that they can replace scalpels. Instead of making cuts in the gums, dentists can use highly precise lasers to dissolve gum tissue instead. Because it cauterizes instead of cuts, gum shaping and removal with lasers can be more comfortable, reduce bleeding and speed up recovery time.
One of the symptoms of gum disease (a.k.a. periodontitis) is the formation of deep pockets between your teeth and gums. One of the treatments for chronic gum disease is scaling and root planing, where these pockets are cleaned and the root is smoothed out so your gums can re-adhere to them. The addition of lasers to this process has been shown in studies to help gums re-attach to the tooth.
The most common type of dental lasers are those that replace dental drills. For example, if you need to have a cavity prepared for repair, a laser can be used to reshape your tooth instead of a drill. The result is a dental procedure with less vibration and noise that is much more comfortable.
This is only a few examples of how lasers are used in dentistry. There are many more uses for lasers, including disinfection, 3D mouth scans, and tooth whitening. Overall, dental lasers offer more comfort, quicker healing and added effectiveness to most dental procedures.