Posted on 16 September 2022
Since the early 1990s, laser dentistry has offered a faster and more comfortable experience for certain dental procedures. The laser can reshape or remove hard and soft tissues without necessarily requiring the use of a drill.
Different Lasers for Hard and Soft Tissues
The type of laser used by a dentist depends on the procedure involved. Hard tissues like the teeth require a different laser than the gums. To shape and prep a tooth for a procedure such as repairing a filling or composite bonding, the dentist will use a hard tissue laser. This type of laser is absorbed by the water and minerals within the tooth.
Soft tissue lasers are used to address problems such as gum disease. The laser can penetrate through the soft tissue, being absorbed through water and hemoglobin. When penetrating the soft tissue, the laser can seal nerve endings -- helping eliminate any discomfort or pain that may otherwise be experienced after the treatment.
Common Dental Procedures for Lasers
There are a few procedures where dentists may commonly use a laser to treat a dental condition. These include:
There are additional procedures where a dentist qualified in laser dentistry may recommend using a laser. These include:
Are There Instances Where A Laser Can’t Be Used?
Yes, there are times when lasers cannot be used to treat dental issues. The main example is on a tooth that already has an existing metal amalgam filling.
A laser also is not an option for large cavities, filling cavities situated between teeth, and to fill cavities around old fillings.
Lasers are also not recommended when preparing teeth for the placement of bridges or to remove damaged or defective crowns.
Pros and Cons of Laser Dentistry
Using lasers is a relatively recent addition to modern dental practice. While there is much hope over its full potential, the field has its pros and cons as listed beneath.
The risks from lasers for dental procedures remains small. However, using the wrong wavelength or the wrong power level can result in damage to the gum tissues. Therefore, it is important to find a dentist qualified to use lasers and to listen to their recommendations. Not every procedure and not every person will be a candidate for dental treatment using lasers.