Imagine being able to go to the dentist and not having to be numbed up or hear the sound of the drill. This scenario has become a reality with the advancements in dental lasers. Lasers can make many dental procedures much more comfortable and less invasive than traditional methods. There are multiple types of lasers available for dentistry, all with pros and cons. The primary categories of lasers now fall into a few main types: diode, CO2, Er:Yag and Nd:Yag. An excellent laser for the dental field is the Fotona LightWalker laser system. No, that’s not a Luke Skywalker lightsaber, but it is equally big screen exciting. As an erbium laser, the Lightwalker device includes multiple features with different compositions and wavelengths that can improve many aspects of dentistry treatment – and the dental experience.
Replaces needles and drills
The Lightwalker laser features both Er:Yag and Nd:Yag technology. The one thing that may excite many patients is that the Er:Yag laser can be used for hard tissue treatment, such as dental fillings. Because the energy prepares the tooth instead of a drill, in most cases, the patient does not even need to be numbed for the procedure. Furthermore, this laser eliminates the sound of the dental drill for a more peaceful office visit. So, fillings without a numbing injection or drilling sound are possible.
Reverses gum disease
Laser technology also can improve periodontal (gum) disease treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 50 percent of adults over 30 and upward of 70 percent of those over 65 have some form of periodontal disease. Gum disease leads to bone loss and infection that can lead to loss of teeth. Treating gum disease with a laser can reverse some of the damage done to teeth and even possibly regenerate some bone that traditional methods are unable to do. Also, treatment is less invasive and healing time is shorter.
The laser also has indications to help people who snore. Often times snoring is caused by loose and excessive tissue in the back of the throat and tongue. The laser can be used to painlessly stimulate and tighten this tissue, therefore opening the airway and helping to reduce snoring. This procedure is done without numbing or discomfort and patients notice the results almost immediately.
These are just a few of the ways dentists can use lasers to increase quality and patient comfort. I am impressed with the capabilities and results of this cutting-edge technology and prefer it over diode lasers. If laser dentistry is something you may be interested in, talk to your dentist and see what your options may be.
Dr. Nick is with Palm Desert Smiles and can be reached at (760) 568.3602.