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Pros and Cons of Laser Dentistry
Laser dentistry provides an alternative way to perform a variety of dental procedures, such as teeth cleaning and tooth reshaping. Using a laser typically reduces the need for a local anesthetic and the patient is less likely to deal with pain and discomfort afterward.
Lasers are concentrated beams of light energy. The heat created by lasers is what dentists use to cut, reshape and clean soft or hard tissues in the mouth. Altering the wavelength of a laser changes the amount of heat it generates. This is why laser dentistry can be used on soft and hard tissues alike.
Common applications of laser dentistry include gum reshaping, cold sore treatment and removing decayed tooth material. It can also be used to treat gum disease, harden fillings and even whiten teeth. Surgical procedures performed with lasers lower the risk of infection.
Benefits and disadvantages of laser dentistry
Dental lasers can be safely used to treat patients as long as certain precautions are followed, such as the use of protective eyewear. Lasers do not generate noise and vibrations like conventional dental tools such as drills do, so laser treatments are often a better option for people who deal with dental anxiety. Lasers allow dentists to work with a high level of precision, and this often shortens the length of treatments and the ensuing recovery period.
Here are some of the main benefits of treating patients with a laser:
- Patients typically experience less pain when procedures are performed with dental lasers
- Treatments with dental lasers often lead to less bleeding
- A dental laser is less likely to cause swelling when compared to conventional tools
- Lasers allow dentists to work with more precision
- Recovery periods are typically shorter when dental lasers are used
- Laser treatments are often less invasive than using conventional tools
The main drawbacks of using dental lasers include:
- Teeth that have fillings cannot be treated with a dental laser
- Lasers cannot be used to treat interdental cavities
- Lasers cannot be used to treat excessive tooth decay
- Lasers cannot be used to remove damaged oral restorations like bridges or crowns
How dental lasers change the way dentists approach gum disease
Gum disease is one of the most common oral issues people deal with and it destroys the structures that hold teeth in place. The advanced stage is called periodontal disease and it requires quick treatment to prevent it from permanently damaging teeth and their structures.
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria underneath the gums. Popular treatments for it include flap surgery, and scaling and root planing. The former involves pulling back the gums so tooth roots and gum pockets can be cleaned. While anesthetics are used to prevent the patient from feeling pain during the procedure, most experience discomfort for up to a couple of weeks afterward.
Lasers allow dentists to clean and disinfect tooth roots and gum pockets without having to pull the patient's gums back. This leads to a significantly more pleasant experience for the patient.
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