The History of Laser Dentistry
Lasers. What are they, where did they originate from, and how are they changing dentistry? In 1917, Albert Einstein published a paper on the quantum theory of radiation, which set up the foundation for lasers. In 1959, Gordon Gould introduced the public to the idea of LASER, which is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
In 1960, Theodore Miaman built the first laser. It was not long before dental researchers were trying to find ways they could use lasers to treat dental problems and in oral procedures. Today, the idea is just beginning to take hold, and it is groundbreaking.
In the past 20 years, the use of laser dentistry has exploded.
Just 20 years ago, dentists weren’t using lasers in their practices. But there has been a tremendous amount of research in the field of laser dentistry, and dental laser technology has advanced significantly in the past two decades. Now dentists have found numerous applications for dental lasers. There are several benefits of lasers over traditional dentistry, such as the fact that the treatments are less painful and less damaging to healthy tissue.
Two Kinds of Lasers
Dental lasers can be grouped into two general categories: soft tissue lasers and hard tissue lasers. At Bentz Dental Implant and Prosthetic Center, we use both. As the name implies, hard tissue lasers are used on the hard tissues. Three of the four tissues that make up our tooth—enamel, dentin, and cementum—are hard tissues.
Soft tissue lasers are used on the soft tissues, such as when treating gum disease, for deep cleanings, and as a tool in some oral procedures, such as crown lengthening and gum reshaping. If you’re wondering how dental lasers could benefit you, we’ve outlined some of the amazing uses for hard and soft tissue lasers.
Hard Tissue Lasers
Hard Tissue Lasers for Removal of Old Restorations
Thanks to hard tissue lasers, old veneers can be removed faster and much more effectively than before. The prosthodontist administers the laser to the base of the existing veneers, weakening the porcelain or composite resin materials, and, after a single drill down the center of the tooth, the veneer can pop right off. This is a much faster and easier way than having to grind down the entire old veneer. If you’re having an entire set of veneers removed, this will mean a lot less time in the dental chair. The same laser technique is also applied to removing old fillings.
Other Uses for Hard Tissue Lasers
The hard tissue laser enables your dentist to safely remove carious tooth material through ablation without damaging the surrounding tissues. Lasers can also be used for detecting cavities and diagnosing other dental diseases.
Another use for hard tissue lasers is teeth whitening as it is a very effective way to remove stains and discoloration.
Soft Tissue Lasers
Soft Tissue Lasers for Treatment of Periodontal Disease
If your gums bleed when you floss, there’s infection there. And when the calculus builds up, it dissolves the bone and the gums around the teeth. Soft tissue lasers are an excellent aid in the treatment of gum disease because we can precisely and neatly laser the diseased tissue away, preserving more of your healthy gum tissue.
Since the laser targets the pigment of the bad bacteria, it disinfects the tissue as well, cleaning out the infected area and reducing the chance of recurring infection. The energy from the laser also encourages biostimulation, a process that is extremely helpful in healing wounds.
The laser is then used at the root of the tooth to remove any calculus without damaging the surrounding cementum. What’s more, the laser can also help to seal up the tooth pockets without the need for sutures and with a lot less gum recession than there would have been using traditional methods.
Other Uses for Soft Tissue Lasers
There are other treatments for gums, such as gum contouring and removing ulcers and lesions from the gums and soft tissues in your mouth. Think about all the soft tissues in your mouth, from gums to the roof of your mouth to the connective tissues, like the frenum. All of these can be treated surgically with soft tissue lasers, reducing the pain caused by the usual surgeries with a scalpel, scissors or other instrument.
Benefits of Laser Dentistry
Lasers interact with your gum tissues in a precise and predictable manner, which produces reliable and more accurate results.
Lasers can provide relief from pain in complex treatments, and simple procedures can be done in a much less invasive manner. For some treatments where anesthetic is normally needed, laser treatment makes it unnecessary. Tissues regenerate more quickly with lasers than with conventional methods.
Faster, more comfortable, higher quality treatment is at your doorstep. If you want to learn more, reach out to Benz Dental Implant and Prosthodontist Center for a consultation on how laser dentistry can benefit you.