The dental industry has used laser dentistry for more than 25 years. Laser treatments can be used for a variety of dental procedures. Here, our Ottawa dentists explain how these treatments work, and their benefits for your oral health.
What are dental lasers used for?
Laser dentistry can be used to perform various hard and soft tissue procedures. Dental lasers have become a common treatment method due to their accuracy.
They can also help lessen the discomfort and potential bleeding some patients experience with traditional dental tools, such as drills.
Drills can sometimes be intimidating or irritating to patients – so much so that these individuals may avoid dental procedures they need. Dental lasers can allow anxious patients to receive treatments with less stress – and to enjoy the benefits to their oral health.
How do dental lasers work?
Dental lasers channel energy into light. They can serve as a vaporizer, a cutting instrument, a curing instrument to harden dental restorations, or, in the case of the teeth whitening process, a heat source used to accelerate the whitening process.
What oral health issues can dental lasers be used to treat?
- Gum disease
- Hypersensitivity in teeth
- Tooth discolouration
- Tooth decay
- Biopsies and lesion removal
What are the benefits of laser dentistry?
- Instruments are precise
- Lasers can replace drills in some cases
- Minimized discomfort and reduced pain
- Controlled bleeding
- Reduced chance of infection (due to sterilizing the treatment area)
- Faster healing times
Are dental lasers safe?
The FDA tests and approves each laser for safety and effectiveness. Each laser is designed to address a specific issue or perform a particular procedure, and dentists must be trained to operate each laser system.
Patients are provided with glasses to protect their eyes.
Common Myths & Misconceptions
There are some common myths and misconceptions about lasers. These include:
Lasers are unsafe.
As mentioned above, lasers are actually quite safe, as they are tested and cause less discomfort for many patients during procedures than traditional dental tools. They also require specific training to use
Laser treatment is more expensive.
While equipment is more expensive compared to traditional materials, lasers can be used to address issues in fewer appointments in many cases. This means the cost you (or your insurance) pay is usually about the same as that associated with traditional dental procedures.
With reduced chances of infection occurring, you won’t be as likely to need to visit the dentist again to treat secondary issues. The cost is further reduced with less need for anesthesia.
Lasers can cause cancer.
Because dental lasers lose amplified light - not radiation - the light they produce is more like common light, which is less harmful than sunlight
Procedures take longer.
While this one may have been true years ago, several decades of development have made dental lasers as quick as traditional tools, if not faster. Also, many procedures can be completed without anesthesia, potentially making the overall process significantly shorter.