Lasers were first used in dental procedures in 1994.
Dentists use lasers for a variety of purposes
- To treat tooth decay by removing the decay in a tooth and preparing the enamel for receiving a filling.
- For the curing and hardening of a filling.
- For reshaping gums and removing bacteria in a root canal procedure.
- For the removal of a lesion or a biopsy to study the material.
- For teeth whitening procedures where lasers can enable the acceleration of in-office teeth whitening. A bleaching solution made from peroxide is applied to the surface of the tooth and is ”activated” through the use of a laser which accelerates the process of whitening.
All lasers deliver light energy and when used in dental and surgical procedures, the laser plays the role of a cutting tool or a tissue vaporizer that it makes contact with. If it is used for the “curing” of a filling, the laser strengthens the bonding that occurs between the tooth and the filling. When utilized in teeth-whitening the laser plays the role of the provider of a source of heat which increases the results of agents of tooth-bleaching.
Benefits and drawbacks of using a laser in dental procedures
- Often less pain is encountered reducing the necessity to use anaesthesia
- Enhances patient comfort and stress because a drill is not involved
- Reduces swelling and bleeding in the treatment of soft tissue
- Is sometimes able to retain more of the healthy part of a tooth in cavity elimination.
- It is not possible to use a laser on teeth which have fillings.
- Lasers cannot be used to fill up cavities found between teeth, in the vicinity of old fillings and larger cavities that have to be prepared for the placing of a crown.
- They are unable to eliminate silver fillings or defective crowns, or get teeth ready for bridges.
- Traditional drills might have to be used to give the right shape to a filling, alter the bite, and give a polish to a filling even if a laser has already been used.
- Lasers don’t necessarily eliminate anaesthesia completely.