Laser dentistry offers several benefits to Houston patients and can be used in an increasing array of applications.
As a low-pain, fast-recovery alternative to traditional dentistry, dental lasers are ideal for treatment with most patients, including younger and overly anxious patients.
Houston Laser Dentistry Applications and Procedures
Dental lasers can be used in a variety of cosmetic dentistry and oral health care procedures. This includes both hard and soft tissue applications, such as:
- Wound healing – Dental lasers can be used to remove some lesions and ulcers and speed up healing in the process. Low doses of laser light increase fibroblast proliferation in tissues, which increases the rate at which new connective tissue is formed.
- Biopsies and tumor removal – Dental lasers are useful for precisely excising small amounts of tissue, so lasers are ideal for biopsies and for removing benign, soft tissue tumors. The resulting incision requires no sutures to heal.
- Teeth whitening – Dental lasers are used to activate whitening compounds used during in-office treatment. The laser is used to activate the teeth whitening agents during the procedure. Laser teeth whitening tends to provide longer, more dramatic results than at-home and over-the-counter options.
- Crown lengthening – During a crown lengthening procedure, laser technology is used to shape bone and gum tissue to expose more of the health tooth lying beneath the gum surface. This can improve cosmetic appearances and provide more room for restorations.
- Gingival contouring – Dental lasers can shape soft tissue very well. During gingival, or gum contouring, the gums are shaped, and excess tissue is removed. This can correct a “gummy smile” and restore its appearance.
- Gum disease and tooth decay detection – Laser dentistry can also be used for diagnostic purposes. Dentists use laser technology in this way to detect fluorescence – light given off by tissues energized by the laser. These emitted wavelengths of light change if calculus or tooth decay is present, giving the dentist a clear picture of the patient’s oral health.
- Exposing partially erupted teeth – Because dental lasers are precise tissue-removing tools, they can also be used to expose impacted teeth. In most cases, laser exposure surgery is performed on wisdom teeth. During the procedure, the laser is used to open a small flap out of the gums lying on top of the impacted tooth. Once exposed, the impacted tooth can be extracted, if needed.
- Frenectomy – A laser frenectomy procedure is often recommended for patients with an attached frenulum – known as a tongue tie or lip tie. Both can interfere with breastfeeding, speech, and other oral behaviors. During treatment, the laser is used to ablate (vaporize) the tie without pain or bleeding.
- Cavity preparation – If a cavity is discovered in the mouth, a dental laser can be used to prepare the tooth for a filling. Preparation includes cleaning out the cavity and destroying any bacteria. Once the tooth has been cleaned out, a filling can be placed.
There is one limitation here, as dental lasers can only be used with teeth that do not already have fillings in place.
- Tooth sensitivity – Laser dentistry can also be used to treat tooth sensitivity and discomfort. It is not fully understood how dental lasers achieve these results, but some studies suggest that the laser’s energy modifies microstructures in the tooth (dentinal tubules, specifically). These structures are partly responsible for how oral sensitivity is perceived.
A reputable Houston dentist that features laser dentistry can perform additional treatments beyond what is listed above.
Five Benefits of Laser Dentistry in Houston
Dental lasers have been around for decades, and in that time, they’ve steadily grown in popularity. Why are more patients choosing practices with dental laser technology?
- Lower risk of pain or discomfort – Dental lasers are much less likely to cause pain compared to traditional dental instruments and drills. Occasionally, there may be minor irritation around the treatment area, but this is easily managed and fades quickly.
- Reduced likelihood and severity of bleeding – Dental lasers cause less physical trauma than metal instruments, reducing the risk of severe bleeding. Further, they cauterize blood vessels as they pass over tissues, sealing off those vessels and preventing uncontrolled blood loss. Many laser dentistry procedures can be performed without sutures, as a result.
- Reduced risk of bacterial infection – Dental lasers destroy harmful bacteria as they work in the mouth. With fewer bacteria near the treatment area, there is a lower risk of infection. This risk is further minimized by reducing bleeding, which makes it more difficult for bacteria to enter the treatment site through the patient’s blood.
- Reduced recovery time – Dental lasers can be used without anesthesia or sutures in many cases. They are also less likely to cause infection, which adds up to a smoother recovery phase that takes less time for patients to get through.
- Easier for people with dental anxiety – Dental anxiety is common, especially in young patients who may fear the sound of a dental drill. For anxious patients, laser dentistry is a less intimidating alternative, as the laser is silent and does not physically contact the patient.
Laser Dentistry in Houston is Effective for Better Oral Health
With excellent precision and less-invasive treatment delivery, dental lasers are ideal for an ever-expanding range of oral healthcare treatments. With the advantages of laser dentistry, it is no surprise that more patients are seeking Houston practices that offer this superior technology.