While the practice has been around for almost three decades, the benefits of laser dentistry are finally having their moment in the spotlight for becoming one of the most commonly used methods of professional dentists in providing effective oral healthcare. This type of dentistry is also popular among patients because it is less invasive and painful than most dental surgical procedures. Educate yourself now on laser dentistry and how it can help as it is likely already available at a dentist office near you.
What Is Laser Dentistry and What Procedures Can It Perform?
Laser dentistry is simply dental procedures performed by a licensed dentist via the use of a specialty laser in their office. This tool relies on beams of light energy to help correct a variety of dental issues rather than utilizing intense pressure or heat to make the same correction. For this reason, it is considered by the dental industry to be versatile, effective, and safe for providing oral care.
There are two primary kinds of laser applications used in dentistry:
1. Hard tissue lasers. These lasers are used to modify hard tissue such as the enamel of a tooth. This ability makes them useful in removing cavities to stop the further development of decay, sealing the roots of a tooth to help with sensitive teeth, preparing teeth for crowns and fillings, and whitening teeth.
2. Soft tissue lasers. This type of laser is typically used for softer tissues such as the gums. Dentists often use these lasers to assist with repairing soft tissue defects and abnormalities, reshaping smiles dominated by the gums, and removing soft tissue as needed for other conditions.
Laser dentistry can be particularly helpful for patients who are of an older age, prone to infection, diabetic, and are experiencing damaged teeth and gums.
The Benefits of Laser Dentistry to Patients
One of the most key benefits of laser dentistry is its minimally invasive nature. By using lasers, patients may experience the following benefits:
• Minimal need for anesthesia. The pain level associated with laser treatments is so minimal, that many people opt to do the procedure without the use of anesthesia. This is particularly key for those patients who do not tolerate anesthesia well.
• Less pain. While patients can vary on if laser dentistry causes them mild discomfort, on average most report lower levels of pain as compared to surgical procedures. This may make all the difference for a patient that is concerned about the pain level associated with a procedure they urgently need.
• Diminished noise. Research has shown that many people experience heightened fear of a dental procedure from the noise made by the instruments used. For these individuals the sound of a drill may be enough to cause anxiety. Fortunately, laser dentistry procedures are significantly quieter than drills which may help keep a patient’s fear at a more manageable level.
• Less bleeding than with surgical procedures. Unlike most hard surgical tools used for oral care, a laser’s light beam assists with blood coagulation. This is instrumental in reducing the blood loss a person experiences. This can be even more advantageous for patients who already are experiencing bleeding gums before a treatment even begins.
• Reduced need for stitches. Even dissolvable stitches in the mouth can be uncomfortable. By using a laser, it facilitates eased clotting of the blood and often with minimal or no use of stitches.
• Diminished risk of infection. When hard and sharp dental tools are used in place of a laser, it can increase the risk of gum abrasions and infection. Since lasers are more precise in targeting only the affected area and eliminating the bacteria in it, there tends to be less of a risk of infection.
• Decreased recovery time. Because laser dentistry generally causes less discomfort, pain and bleeding, patients who undergo this treatment instead of surgical dental procedures often heal at a faster rate. This allows patients to get back to their everyday activities with minimal disruption to their lives.
Patients who suffer from overly sensitive teeth may also find laser dentistry to be more preferable than surgical treatments as it is often a gentler process.
Things to Keep in Mind About Laser Dentistry
While the benefits of laser dentistry outweigh concerns patients may have about this method, it is important for patients to be aware that its benefits may still come with some limitations. For example, while it tends to be the exception, some intricate laser procedures may warrant the use of anesthesia from time to time. There may also be instances in which the use of a drill may be needed to complement that which a laser already does.
While it is a relatively small percentage, there are some people who may not be good candidates for laser dentistry treatment due to preexisting conditions or other serious dental issues.
The Difference Between Traditional Dentistry and Laser Dentistry
A patient who is experiencing tooth damage or that wants a corrective or cosmetic treatment should make an appointment with a licensed dentist that offers both traditional and laser dentistry procedures. These professionals will be able to personalize the differences between the two in terms of how they work, how long they take, and what the recovery time will be like for each patient’s specific procedure.
However, the effectiveness is one of the benefits of laser dentistry that dental professionals most appreciate, followed by the safety of laser dentistry procedures, which is generally less invasive than many traditional dentistry procedures and does not necessarily require anesthesia. For patients, the generally smaller window of recovery time required by laser dentistry is usually preferable because it causes less disruption to their life overall in comparison to traditional methods.
While modern licensed dentists should be well versed in both traditional and laser dentistry, it is critical to confirm that your dentist is. Although dentistry has been around for centuries, modern dentistry is changing every day, and it is essential to choose a dentist that is willing to keep educating themselves and moving forward with the times.
What to Look for in a Houston Dentist Providing Laser Dentistry
The benefits of laser dentistry come from a professional and licensed Houston dentist who is well educated and trained in this increasingly advanced technique.
Ensure that the Houston dentist is licensed to practice dentistry in your area and that they have received laser dentistry specific training. Do not be shy about asking how many patients they have treated via a laser and the outcomes of those treatments. Having access to past patient or online reviews may also help give you more confidence in the dental professional.
Laser treatments are less invasive, but to best protect your oral health, it is still of the utmost importance to have a talented and experienced dental professional doing laser dentistry treatments.
The benefits of laser dentistry are making it one of the most frequently recommended types of treatment for oral care. Talk to your Houston dentist to find out if this type of treatment is right for you and how it might be able to help.