Since 1994, lasers have been used in the dental field to treat many dental problems. However, despite the FDA approval, no laser system can obtain the American Dental Association (ADA) approval seal as an alternative to traditional treatment methods. The seal ensures that the dentist ensures that the product or equipment meets ADA safety and effectiveness standards. However, ADA expressed its cautious optimism about the role of laser technology in the dental field. These lasers are different from cold lasers used in phototherapy to relieve headaches, pain and inflammation.
Still, some dentists are using lasers to treat:
The laser is used to remove cavities in the teeth and prepare the surrounding enamel to fill the teeth.
Lasers are used to reshape the gums and remove bacteria during root canal surgery.
Biopsy or lesion removal
The laser can be used to remove a small piece of tissue (called a biopsy) in order to check it for cancer. Lasers are also used to remove lesions in the mouth and relieve the pain of canker sores.
Lasers are used to speed up the teeth whitening process in the office. The peroxide bleaching solution applied to the surface of the teeth is “activated” by laser energy, thereby accelerating the whitening process.
How Do Lasers Work in Dentistry?
All lasers worked by delivering light in the form of energy. When used in surgical and dental procedures, the laser acts as an evaporator for the cutting tool or tissue in contact with it. When used in tooth whitening procedures, the laser acts as a heat source and enhances the effect of tooth bleaching agents.
Pros and Cons of Laser
Compared to the traditional dental drill, lasers:
- In some cases it can reduce pain, thus reducing the need for anesthesia
- Using dental drills may reduce anxiety in patients who are uncomfortable
- Minimize bleeding and swelling during soft tissue treatment
- Removing cavities may keep teeth healthy
The disadvantages of lasers are that:
- Do not use lasers on teeth that have been filled.
- We cannot use lasers in all kinds of dental procedures. For example, lasers cannot be used to fill cavities between teeth, old fillings and large cavities that need to be prepared for the crown. In addition, lasers cannot be used to remove defective crowns or silver fillings, or to prepare teeth for bridges.
- Even with lasers, traditional drills may still be required to shape the filling, adjust the bite and polish the filling.
- Laser cannot eliminate the need for anesthesia.
- Laser treatments tend to be more expensive-lasers cost much more than dental drills. Compared with a standard drill bit of about $600, the cost of laser cutting ranges from a few thousand dollars to more than 100,000 dollars.