A dental laser is a device that uses an intensely focused light beam to cut or shape both hard tissues, such as tooth enamel, and soft tissues, such as gums or muscles, in oral health procedures. Dental lasers are made to use different wavelengths of light, depending on the types of procedures they will be used for, and some laser systems include cooling water to aid in heat dissipation.
Dental lasers can be used in many dental procedures, either alone or in conjunction with traditional dental tools:
- Clean out bacteria during root canal work.
- Provide a heat source for activating bleach during tooth whitening.
- Remove and shape gum tissue affected by periodontal disease.
- Prepare tissue for gum transplants.
- Take tissue samples for biopsies.
- Reduce pain associated with canker sores and other oral lesions.
Laser dentistry offers several advantages over traditional dental techniques, which still use instruments based on designs originally introduced more than a century ago. Lasers cut with greater precision than dental drills, which results in less tissue damage, less bleeding and faster healing. Many patients experience less discomfort with laser dentistry, both because there is less pain and also because dental lasers operate more quietly than dental drills. Some laser dentistry procedures can be performed without anesthesia.
There are some limitations and disadvantages to laser dentistry. The procedures are usually more expensive than work done using traditional tools because the cost of laser equipment is many times the cost of standard dental equipment. Lasers cannot be used in some situations, such as preparing for filling cavities between teeth or working with teeth that already have metal fillings in place.
The experienced staff at Oakridge Dental Center can answer any questions you have about laser dentistry and how it can be applied to your particular situation. Call us for a consultation to develop a plan for any dental work you may need. We use the latest tools and techniques, including dental lasers and other high quality equipment, to ensure that your experience with us is as comfortable as possible and yields the results you expect in restoring and maintaining your oral health.