No one knew how the discovery of lasers in the 1960s would revolutionize the way we live. Laser technology allows us to play CDs and DVDs, scan bar codes at the store, and use laser pointers during presentations. LASIK eye surgery uses a laser to reshape the eye and improve vision, laser angioplasty is used to save heart attack victims, laser technology is used in brain surgery, and dermatologists have been using lasers for years to remove tattoos and birthmarks.
Lasers have been used in dentistry since 1994. The Food and Drug Administration has cleared their use in more than 20 dental procedures including:
Periodontal Disease Treatment: The laser removes diseased tissue in patients with gum disease, and leaves the healthy tissue alone.
Orthodontic Treatment: 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 we would 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.
Biopsy Sampling: The laser can remove a small piece of tissue so it can be examined for cancer.
Lesion Treatment: Lasers can treat lesions in the mouth, such as canker sores, cold sores, or ulcers. Left alone, mouth sores usually go away in 10 to 14 days. Applying a laser will eliminate the pain from the mouth sore and ultimately help it heal faster. The treatment typically takes about four minutes.
Accurate Margins for Mold Impressions: Dentists can perform troughing with a laser instead of packing cord to expose the subgingival margins and control bleeding. That helps them get a more accurate impression to send to a dental lab to make a crown, bridge, or denture.
Cosmetic Procedures: Dentists can use the laser to resculpt the gum line to make teeth appear more even. Dentists can also use lasers to remove excessive tissue attachments called frenums which can bulge into spaces between the teeth.
Laser technology gives us another way to help patients smile more, through less-invasive treatment and faster healing time. We look forward to talking to you about how dental laser therapy could help you.