At Coast Dental practices, we are committed to providing the latest technology to our patients. Now we're pleased to offer laser technology in some offices to help patients achieve the results they desire.
Here are five ways orthodontists are using lasers:
1. To speed up treatment time.
Sometimes when soft tissue (the gum) partially covers a tooth, it prevents us from placing a bracket on the tooth. Previously, we would wait for the tooth to erupt through the gum, which could take several months, or send the patient to an oral surgeon to remove the gum tissue blocking the tooth. Now, orthodontists can use a laser to relieve the gum tissue and free the tooth. Once the tooth can be accessed, the orthodontist can place a bracket on the tooth and begin the process of moving the tooth into its correct place.
2. To alleviate canker sores.
Canker sores can become uncomfortable and can last 10 to 14 days. Previously, patients would have to just wait for the pain to subside, use a mouth gel, or have the canker sore cauterized. Now, a dentist can eliminate the pain from the mouth sore through laser therapy. The treatment typically takes about four minutes and the relief is immediate. Best of all, the canker sore should not return to that location again.
3. To treat puffy gums.
People with braces sometimes develop puffy gums because they can't get the toothbrush beneath the bracket to effectively clear debris and bacteria from the gum line. That bacteria build-up leads to gum infection, which causes the gums to swell. Orthodontists can relieve puffiness with a laser so patients can start brushing and flossing effectively again.
4. To treat excess tissue attachment.
Sometimes the tissue attachments that connect the lips or the cheeks to the gums can bulge into spaces between the teeth. These tissue attachments are called frenums and the procedure to relieve the excessive tissue is called a frenectomy. Before lasers, oral surgeons would remove the excessive tissue with a scalpel, which would require sutures to stop the bleeding and could lead to scar tissue that would prevent the gap between the teeth from closing properly. With laser technology, there's no bleeding, sutures, or special post-operative care. Also, the procedure is painless, the healing time is faster, and there's no scar tissue.
5. To even out the gum line.
Imagine the day you finally get off your braces. You're so excited to see how straight your teeth are. It can be disappointing if your gums are uneven and some teeth appear shorter than other teeth, even though they're all in line correctly. Your orthodontist can use a laser to contour the gum tissue to achieve symmetry and make the teeth look the same size.
Laser technology gives us another way to help patients smile more, through less-invasive treatment and faster healing time. Lasers are being used in many medical procedures including eye surgery, brain surgery, heart surgery and skin cancer treatment. It will be exciting to see how they can be used in even more areas in the future!
Dr. Geoffrey Kopecky is an orthodontist with more than 20 years of experience as a certified specialist for adults and children. He was recognized "Top Doc San Diego" by Channel 5 Fox News in 2011, an honor bestowed upon him by his peers and patients. Dr. Kopecky received his orthodontic specialty training at the prestigious Eastman Dental Center in Rochester, NY, where he was president of his class. He completed two fellowships and was appointed to the Children's Department of Craniofacial Anomaly and Cleft Palate team at The Genesee Hospital in NY for three years. He practices at several SmileCare locations in San Diego, Chula Vista and El Cajon and offers traditional braces, Inspire ICE™ braces, ClearCorrect™ aligners, Invisalign® clear aligners, orthognathic surgery and additional services. To find the location nearest you to request a free orthodontic consultation, call 1-800-32-SMILE or visit www.CoastDental.com/Orthodontics.