Laser technology is all around us, whether in a small, handheld cat toy, a medical procedure such as laser eye surgery, impressive light shows at concerts, or high-powered laser weaponry. A dental office is no exception, and the practice of lasers in medicine and science are here to stay! In fact, lasers become safer and more practical each year, and patients receive top-of-the-line care as a result of lasers, transforming traditional procedures into faster, pain-free dental experiences.
First, let’s take a step back and have a closer look at the Biolase ezlase Dental Laser.
Biolase, Inc. has led the field of laser dentistry, developing, manufacturing, and distributing laser systems in dentistry. This has transformed dental practices, where dentists and clinicians are better able to repair and restore dental conditions, while alleviating pain and reducing anxiety associated with dentistry. Biolase lasers have changed dental practices globally, setting the standard of care and quality in laser-based solutions.
Both dental professionals and patients have praised this innovative technology in dental practices for being:
- Less invasive than traditional dentistry
How it works
Albert Einstein wrote to a friend in 1916 that “A splendid light has dawned on me about the absorption and emission of radiation.” While having stated this revelation, Einstein didn’t create the laser, but he did theorize the concept of stimulated emission—otherwise known as the scientific basis for the creation of laser light. After the first laser was developed in 1960, many more lasers were created, enabling dental researchers to investigate lasers’ potential. By 1965, two researchers found that a laser could vaporize enamel. More studies followed over the decades, finding soft and hard tissues applications for dental lasers.
Laser is actually an acronym that stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers deliver energy by light. Generating light is nonionizing and does not produce the same effects as X-radiation, or the more harmful side effects from X-rays. The lasers function with light energy and water.
Now, lasers in dentistry provide precise procedures without local anesthesia, bone cutting ability with minimal trauma to other oral tissues, and an increased healing response with minimal pain post-procedure. Between the different types of lasers used in dentistry, they have become minimally invasive instruments that deliver excellent results.
Here’s what’s special about the Biolase ezlase Dental Laser
Biolase ezlase delivers the best advanced-laser technology for your dental care. Carolina’s Dental Choice uses lasers to speed up different kinds of procedures, as well as, reduce recovery time and overall invasiveness. The efficiency of Biolase means that your CDC dentist can diagnose and treat dental problems to ensure healthier teeth and gums. Biolase also doesn’t use heat or vibration, making your dental experiences more enjoyable, precise, and painless.
How lasers are used in dentistry
We might think of lasers as being groundbreaking technology, however, lasers have been used in dentistry since 1994. They are now well-established instruments in the modern dentist office, and ongoing research is continuing to show the many benefits of laser therapy, laser dental work, and laser surgical assistance.
To put it simply, drills and handheld dental instruments simply aren’t as accurate as laser technology. To patients, it’s likely less about what the laser technology can do, and much more about how the laser technology can make them feel.
The light from the lasers emits energy that interacts with the tissues in your mouth, like tooth enamel, dentin, or gengiva (from gingivitis). Lasers can be used to remove decay from a tooth, reshape gums, and remove bacteria, or to prepare surrounding enamel for a filling or other procedures.
There are a number of lasers used in dentistry, but two main lasers include soft tissue lasers and hard tissue lasers. Soft tissue lasers treat and clean soft tissue areas, like your gums, and hard tissue lasers are mainly for cutting tooth enamel. The water-energized laser is able to cut through that enamel, which is the hardest tissue found in your body.
The following only scrape the surface (no dental imagery intended) of laser uses in dental practice:
Laser Teeth Cleaning:
You read that correctly. We love and trust our gentle hygienists, but you may want to consider this highly effective alternative method: cleaning your teeth with laser dentistry. Instead of scraping away at tartar and plaque with dental instruments, the laser technology removes far more. What’s even more impressive is that regardless of age or dental history, laser cleanings are a great fit for patients to make cleanings more efficient and accurate.
This is the most common procedure in laser dentistry, perhaps because of how sensitive the gum tissue is. Lasers can be used to precisely cut at gingiva for restorative, cosmetic, and periodontal work. In comparison to traditional gingivectomy, post-operation patients rarely need packing or sutures, and experience rapid healing and reduced pain.
Biopsy or lesion removal:
Biospsies take a small piece of tissue from the mouth so that it can be examined for cancer. Some smaller lesions can be removed with a topical anesthetic only, and sutures are rarely needed. Laser wavelengths are also capable of performing a very precise biopsy. If needed, laser dentistry can also aid in removing benign oral tumors from the mouth.
Oral Pain Management:
39 million adults, or 22% of Americans, experience dental pain. 5-12% experience pain from their temporomandibular joint (TMJ), also known as Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD), which causes pain and stiffness and is aggravated by clenching or teeth grinding. Traditionally, TMD is treated with injections, physical therapy, night guards, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Did you know that lasers can be this much help?
Lasers provide a non-invasive and therapeutic way to treat oral pain. Biolase works as a therapeutic device to increase blood circulation and relax your muscles, temporarily relieving joint pain and stiffness. It’s also a quick procedure, taking only 5-10 minutes for each pain area, and repeat treatments can occur as needed.
Lasers can relieve the pain of canker sores through penetrating therapeutic warmth in only 5-10 minutes. Although this temporarily relieves minor pain, it is a fast procedure and can be repeated as needed.
White smiles are everywhere we look and products, for both retail and take-home, are flooding the markets. Teeth whitening is one of the most sought-after cosmetic procedures. In-office whitening treatments are highly recommended to achieve the results that you want, and fast.
In fact, lasers can speed up in-office teeth whitening procedures. The whitening begins with a peroxide bleaching solution applied to the tooth surface. The dentist then activates the solution with laser energy, which speeds up the whitening process. Biolase lasers are able to deliver 6-12 shades in less than 20 minutes, finding tooth shade matches based on the patient.
Laser-Assisted Root Canal Treatment:
As one of the most feared procedures in dental practice, root canals are a dental procedure that have also been touched by laser technology. Over 24 million root canals were performed in America last year alone, so the chances of feeling the affects of laser technology are pretty likely.
Root canal therapy treats the soft inner tissue of the tooth, or the pulp, when it is diseased or damaged. A traditional root canal removes the diseased tissue from the tooth and its roots, followed by an irrigation of disinfectant. The dentist would then place a filling material, typically some kind of latex substance, into the canal to preserve the natural tooth.
With Biolase, lasers can be used to clean and shape roots during the root canal, as well as, to disinfect the roots after treatment.
Non-Surgical Periodontal Treatment:
Non-Surgical Periodontal treatment can include scaling, planing, and other minimally invasive procedures. During a standard cleaning, the hygienist will scrape the surface of the tooth to help remove excessive plaque build-up. Scaling is a common procedure for patients with gum disease, where the cleaning goes beneath the gum line to remove plaque. This procedure often works in conjunction with root planing, which smoothes the tooth rot and aids in reattaching the gums to the tooth.
Lasers are becoming more popular in oral surgery for their precision and superior results, when compared to traditional surgical approaches. They may be used for surgical extractions, pre-prosthetic procedures (e.g. ridge preparation, tori removal, vestibuloplasty, etc.), or work alongside traditional procedures to provide effective, yet simple incision and drainage.
This all sounds great! Now let’s talk safety
Dental lasers meet FDA approval, and regulate dental lasers as medical devices. This means lasers come with their own set of safety standards and precautions. Higher-powered lasers can be a hazard to the eyes and skin, and thus require precautions, such as special protective eye wear. All of our staff have been trained to ensure that these standards are met, as well as, to see that the following practices are abided by:
- Eye Protection: Protective eye wear must be worn by the patient and staff, depending on the wavelength of the laser being used.
- Disposal: Lasers develop scored tips of quartz fibers, and will be disposed of following use.
- Matte-Finished Instruments: Reflective surfaces like instruments, mirrors, or even glass from a picture on the wall can reflect laser energy. Matte-finished instruments avoid this reflection.
- Warning Signs: Practices are required to display visible warning signs of laser use and limit access to areas where lasers are being used and operated.
Lasers in pediatric dentistry
Reducing needles, drills, and time in the dentist chair sounds like a sweet deal for the kids, parents, and pediatric dentists. Lasers are safe to deliver comfortable and quick procedures in dentistry with minimal risk. If children are being treated for tooth decay, lasers could replace loud, vibrating equipment, minimize anesthesia, reduce bacteria, and speed up the overall procedure. Behavior management definitely improves at the dentist when children have a more positive experience, and fewer frightening devices are being used. From infants to teens, lasers provide comprehensive care for your kids, and aid in common pediatric procedures such as pulpotomies and other orthodontic surgical needs.
Training is needed for use
Dentists and dental hygienists must complete specific training to qualify for laser use in dental practices. Training is very important, as lasers are very powerful tools, especially when used around the soft, sensitive tissues of the mouth. Our qualified dentists have a detailed understanding of how the laser technology works, how to use it safely, and how to precisely choose and implement the lasers and wavelengths for different procedures. Depending on what the local and state regulations permit, dental hygienists will typically handle teeth whitening, non-surgical periodontal treatment, and dental pain therapy with lasers.
Lasers versus more traditional methods
Broadly speaking, the dental procedures in which lasers are used have traditional methods with traditional dental instruments already in place. The benefit to lasers is they can provide more therapeutic, precise, and effective options for those procedures.
However, there are a few cases in which laser dentistry cannot be used:
- Lasers can’t be used on teeth that have fillings
- Some laser procedures may still require anesthesia
- Lasers can’t be used to fill cavities between teeth, prepare large cavities for a crown, or work around old fillings
It’s also worth noting that many dental lasers are used alongside traditional dental procedures, so even if lasers are being used, it doesn’t mean drills won’t also be used to shape, adjust, or polish.
Innovative Practice at Carolina’s Dental Choice
Improving dentistry practices is always at the heart of Carolina’s Dental Choice, which is why we implement and recommend the Biolase use for procedures and treatments. If you’re interested in learning more about the latest pain-free dental technology with the best results, give us a call today. We’re happy to talk over your options with you, whether you’re looking for cosmetic work, therapeutic treatments, minimizing pain at the dentist, or ditching the drill to find a dentist using Biolase technology.
Be assured, between our expertise of traditional dentistry, and expert training with Biolase, Carolina’s Dental Choice will give you a reason to smile!