These days, lasers are practically commonplace in American homes, used in appliances like laser levels, security systems and even some high-tech beauty devices. However, most patients are still surprised when they find them in their local dental office, even though dentists have been using laser dental tools for years. Here are four incredible uses of laser dentistry and why you should talk with your dentist about whether or not these treatments are right for you.
Some patients hate the sound, smell and vibration of traditional dental drills, which is why laser dental tools are such an exciting invention. By rapidly heating the area of decay, lasers can simultaneously destroy surface bacteria and cause the decay to separate from the tooth. Additionally, since the process happens rapidly, this form of decay removal causes less pain for the patient and can even be performed without anesthetic on small cavities.
Since dental enamel is naturally porous, dentists use special peroxides to lighten deep-set stains and make the teeth look clean again. Unfortunately, depending on the level of staining, the lightening process can take multiple treatments, which is why laser teeth whitening has gained favor in dental offices across the world. After protecting the gum tissue with a special UV filtration gel, dentists can apply whitening gel to the stained teeth and then use a laser to start the whitening process. The laser gently heats certain chemicals in the whitening gel, lightening the teeth in a fraction of the time it would take otherwise.
Treating Periodontal Disease
If plaque and tartar are allowed to build on the teeth, they can harbor tremendous amounts of oral bacteria. These bacteria emit acids and toxins as they grow and multiply, inflaming the gum tissue and causing the gums to pull away from the teeth, forming gingival pockets. This process is called periodontal disease, and the condition can eventually cause the teeth to loosen or fall out altogether. Fortunately, lasers can be used to sanitize the gingival pockets and encourage the gums to heal properly.
Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure, commonly referred to as LANAP, is a laser procedure where a dentist uses a special periodontal laser probe to eliminate oral bacteria. By inserting this probe in the gingival pocket, the dentist can move the probe around the tooth, killing bacteria and eradicating diseased tissue while protecting your gums and dental enamel. The process is incredibly fast, effective and minimally invasive. In fact, research conducted by the American Dental Association found that LANAP reduced pocket depth and increased remineralization more than traditional treatments for periodontal disease.
Improving the Look of Gum Tissue
Dental lasers can also be used to correct the color or shape of gum tissue. Since the gums frame the teeth, issues with excess melanin or overgrown tissues can make the entire smile look damaged. However, dental lasers can quickly zap away issues like age spots or dark areas, making the gums look pink and healthy again.
Dentists also use lasers to remove or contour overgrown gum tissue, which can make the teeth look straighter. For example, if you take certain medications or have a family history of having a "gummy smile," you might have teeth that look smaller than they really are. Dental lasers can be used for a process called crown lengthening, which is where dentists cut and contour the gum tissue to expose more of your natural dental surface.
Could laser dentistry help you to perfect your smile? Book an appointment online with King Dentistry. In addition to offering state-of-the-art laser dentistry procedures, this family-oriented practice can also help with preventive dental care, sedation dentistry, porcelain veneers and even custom athletic mouth guards.