Since I began using laser light therapy in 2009, it has truly been one of my practice’s greatest treatment tools. Laser therapy helps technologically advanced practices achieve greater results for our patients with dramatically less discomfort and much shorter recovery time.
A dental laser is a focused beam of light emitted from a handheld instrument connected to a standalone machine generating its energy. In dentistry, lasers can be used on both hard (teeth, bone) and soft tissue, depending on the laser type and its capabilities. Soft tissue laser therapy is the most common in dentistry.
First introduced in dentistry in the 1990s, a dental laser is not a replacement, but rather a supplement to a dental practice’s traditional instruments. Unlike traditional metal instruments, a laser is non-invasive, reduces infection rates by evaporating bacteria, and decreases post-operative pain by sealing nerve endings. When used by trained dental professionals, it is extremely safe and effective.
Dentists use laser therapy to remove gum tissue during procedures that typically require a scalpel. Lasers provide dentists with greater precision and accuracy, allowing for higher preservation of healthy tissue.
Dentists can also use it to remove a tongue tie, recontour gums to eliminate a speech impediment, prepare the gum tissue prior to a root canal, and alter the tissue around dental implants to achieve a more natural appearance.
The laser works very quickly and even rehydrates tissue to maintain its health. It desensitizes nerves so there is little to no bleeding, pain or discomfort. It can also eliminate cold sores and ulcers, drain abscesses, and assist in removing tissue for biopsy.
Dental hygienists use laser therapy primarily for non-surgical periodontal treatment, which is for patients who require deeper cleaning treatments, rather than traditional hygiene cleaning.
With these patients, the laser decontaminates pockets around teeth that harbor bacteria and can cause gingivitis and lead to gum disease.
Patients love laser therapy because the procedure is much shorter, healing is fast, and there is little to no discomfort. The laser may also be a good choice for a patient who is years overdue for a professional hygiene cleaning and can benefit from a deep cleaning before resuming regularly scheduled appointments.
Laser treatments are performed in the dental chair and, for most patients, a local anesthetic is used prior to the procedure’s start. The laser is quiet; there is only a small humming sound coming from the machine, and only light pressure is felt on the gums.
You can see why we and our patients absolutely love our dental laser. Its precision and efficiency provides greater comfort with faster recovery and results that exceed those achieved using traditional metal instruments.
Matthew Mastrorocco, DMD is the owner and founder of ROC Dental Group, serving Bluffton and Hilton Head Island.