Laser systems have been utilized successfully in various medical procedures for a number of years. The authorities approved the laser’s applications in dentistry back in 90s and numerous practitioners adopted them as an alternative form of treatment.
It is difficult to predict at this point whether or not technological advances will permit substituting all dentistry equipment for laser versions, particularly because there are still certain conditions and procedures that can’t currently be solved or performed via laser. On the upside, new discoveries and improvements to the existing dentistry laser tech are made every year, which suggests that one day, dentists may be able to rely on them full time. For now, let’s find out what they’re used in.
Practical applications of lasers in dentistry
Dentists and dental hygienists rely on laser systems for the following procedures:
• Detection of existing cavities – timely cavity detection can be achieved by utilizing a low intensity laser system that provides readings of tooth decay derivates;
• Preparing the teeth for fillings – eliminates microorganisms present on the site, and rapid, painless drilling of the opening; in often cases anaesthesia is no longer mandatory;
• Curing and hardening fillings – direct application of laser on the filling promotes faster hardening and cures the alloy;
• Alleviating the causes of excessive tooth sensitivity – lasers are employed to close shut exposed tubules connected to the nerve of the teeth;
• Reshaping hard and soft oral tissue – in order to better accommodate crowns and implants, the dentist performs the so called ‘crown lengthening’ procedure, which implies altering the shape of bone/gum tissue and exposing the healthier layer underneath for a wider base;
• Cosmetic reshaping for gum tissue – popularly referred to gummy smile, a term that stems from the larger than usual extent of the gums, this oral condition can be addressed with dental lasers by extirpating sections of soft tissue and exposing the teeth;
• Frenectomy – children who are born with a tight or limited frenulum that impedes the array of motions of the tongue can take advantage of laser surgery to treat the condition;
• Epulis – suture and pain free surgery to eliminate soft tissue folds generated by improperly fitted dentures can also be performed via laser;
• Biopsies – the extraction of minuscule tissue samples to be examined in the lab for cancer markers;
• Extraction of benign tumours – similar to epulis, the laser is able to remove tumours discovered in the oral cavity (lips, cheek, palate, gums, etc.);
• As catalyst in teeth whitening – the action of substances employed in teeth whitening is accelerated by exposure to the lasers energy, increasing both the speed and the effectiveness of the procedure;
• TMJ treatments – although not a part of the actual TMJ surgery, laser therapy is useful in terms of alleviating pain and reducing the inflammation in the Temporomandibular Joint area;
• Uvuloplasty – a form of treatment designed to eliminate one of the primary known causes for sleep apnoea – the overgrowth of the uvula – laser guided uvuloplasty has shown promising results in terms of improving breathing in patients.