Prior to the approval of laser dentistry by the FDA, dentists needed to poke and prod in your mouth with uncomfortable and intimidating metal tools and drills. Today however, dental technology has advanced to the point where these old-fashioned instruments are obsolete.
Instead, dentists are now using laser dental procedures to help you care for your teeth and gums. Laser dentistry isn’t always the most appropriate treatment option for ALL dental issues. However, it is effective for fighting tooth decay and gum disease, among other oral care treatments.
Laser dentistry is a growing trend in the US
The advantages of laser dentistry over conventional methods is one reason for it being a growing trend. These include:
- Lesser need for noisy, invasive drills
- Reduced need for needles and anesthesia
- Faster healing times due to less trauma to soft and hard tissues
- Reduced risk of infection due to fewer abrasions of the gums
- Effective for sterilizing treated areas
Laser dentistry’s general appeal is that it makes visiting the dentist painless and less scary. Its growing adoption rate by dentists in the US, however, is largely due to the FDA’s stamp of approval for its use in numerous dental procedures. Some of which include endodontics, gum disease treatment and teeth whitening. In addition, the Academy of Laser Dentistry serves to help those certified for laser dentistry to achieve certification at three levels: Basic, Standard and Advanced.
What conditions are treated with laser dentistry?
As noted above, laser dentistry isn’t ideal for all dental procedures. However, it is highly effective for the following conditions.
Instead of using a drill to blast away tooth decay, dentists can now use a laser to hollow out your tooth and rid it of decay prior to filling it or capping it with a crown.
In the case of gum disease, there are laser dental procedures for removing bacteria, shaping your gum line and preparing a tooth for a root canal procedure.
Dentists often use laser methods during in-office whitening procedures to speed up the process. They also use laser techniques to activate peroxide substances to apply to your teeth during the whitening procedure.
Laser dentistry is kid friendly
First of all, lasers are fascinating for kids. They remind them of anything from laser tag to superheroes. Lasers can make visiting the dentist much cooler in a child’s minds. Aside from this appeal, lasers help dentists discover tooth decay by the amount of light the tooth reflects. In addition, laser treatment for kids can be used to:
- Expose teeth that are unable to break through their gums
- Remove tissue that is causing feeding problems
- Remove damaged or diseased pulp tissue to protect healthy soft or hard tissue
Other reasons laser dentistry is good for kids include:
- No loud noises or unsettling vibrations
- No anesthesia, no needles
- No post-procedure numbness that result in bitten lips or cheeks
- Minimal to no soreness, bleeding or inflammation
- Less invasive treatment provides better cooperation from kids
- Reduced need for stitches due to the accuracy of the laser
Overall, laser treatment for kids will achieve better results, faster healing times and an improved experience for your little one.
How is laser dentistry good for the elderly?
The good news concerning the oral health of Americans 65 and over is that the rate of tooth decay has decreased over the past 30 years. However, the bad news is that far too many members of this population have untreated tooth decay, as well as moderate to severe gum disease. Since the elderly are more prone to infection, these conditions put them at a higher risk of developing gingivitis, gum disease or more serious levels of periodontal disease.
The elderly are also more at risk of infection due to conventional, invasive dental procedures that can damage soft tissues. Laser dentistry can treat oral conditions in a non-invasive way that reduces the risk of infection.
Being medically compromised is another barrier to receiving conventional dental care. For instance, it’s not uncommon for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients to resist against sharp, loud and vibrating instruments. If family members can get their medically compromised loved ones to the dentist, the successful completion of treatment is more likely with non-invasive laser dental treatment.
Do you have a loved one that is medically compromised or a child that hates going to the dentist? Drop us a comment and let us know how. If you’d like to get some recommendations, please feel free to ask.