February 3, 2010

Laser Use in Dentistry

An Important New Dental Technology

The growth of laser dentistry is among the more important developments in dental technology in recent years. Laser dentistry uses laser instruments to produce thin, powerful beams of light to mold or remove dental tissue, and whiten teeth, as well as many other things. Dentists first began using dental lasers in conjunction with other dental materials in 1990 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deemed them safe.

The Uses of Dental Lasers

Given their ability to effectively manipulate dental tissues, dental lasers can be employed for a variety of purposes. For example, dental lasers can fully expose wisdom teeth that are only partially erupted. They are also effective in removing swollen tissue and the products of tooth decay. Dental lasers can likewise be used to perform biopsies, as well as to eliminate bacteria. They are also often employed for treating root canal infections, gum abscesses, and cold and canker sores.

The Advantages of Dental Lasers

Laser dentistry also has certain advantages over other forms of dental technology. Dental lasers may render use of dental materials such as drills unnecessary, for example, which in turn may remove the need for anesthesia; i.e., dental lasers can make both the dentist and the patient’s experience less cumbersome. Laser dentistry also often allow for more procedural precision than traditional forms of dental technology, and procedures undertaken with dental lasers frequently involve milder post-treatment symptoms and thus quicker recovery times for the patient.

Important Considerations if You’re Contemplating Laser Procedures

While laser dentistry is a perfectly safe form of dental technology, it is incumbent upon the dental patient to inquire as to his or her individual dentist’s training in the use of dental lasers. Patients considering undergoing procedures involving dental lasers should verify that the dentist performing the procedure has taken educational classes relating to use of dental lasers and also participated in whatever training is offered by the manufacturer of the laser devices to be used. General training in dental lasers is offered by a number of dental associations and schools as well as by the Academy of Laser Dentistry. Because dental lasers are not suitable for all dental procedures, patients should consult with their dentist in order to determine whether use of dental lasers is appropriate for them.