Lasers today are common-place in our society. From DVDs, laser printers, pointers, laser light shows to various x-rays, CAT scans and surgical devices- lasers have advanced to become a technological necessity for cutting-edge precision in medicine and dentistry.
Since the early 1990s, many patients have benefited from the use of laser technology in my practice. Needless to say, it has made a significant difference in the standard of care we provide.
In this issue, we will discuss the benefits of LASER technology in gum disease treatment.
What is a Laser?
A Laser is a device that stimulates atoms or molecules to emit light at particular wavelengths and amplifies that light, producing a very narrow beam. The word “laser” is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
Dentists use lasers in many different procedures. Lasers are used to remove overgrown tissues, whiten teeth, reduce teeth sensitivity, reshape the gums, remove cavities and kill bacteria and viruses.
How laser technology is used to treat periodontal disease
Periodontal or gum disease is an infection of the supporting tissues and bone that hold the teeth in place. Typical treatment for periodontal disease is scaling and root planing (SRP). This is a nonsurgical method that includes cleaning the surfaces of teeth and their roots, which may be exposed due to deep pockets, bone loss and gum recession.
Laser treatment is used to preserve tissue, regenerate attachment and bone-building procedures. In dentistry, dentists use lasers to access an infected pocket and kill the infected tissue and bacteria. Once the bad tissue is removed and the root is exposed, the calculus is removed with an ultrasonic root cleaner and hand instruments. Also, laser energy is used to reduce sensitivity on the tooth root. Lastly, laser treatments stimulate stem cells in tissues to form new connective tissues, bone and collagen.
Four benefits of laser technology in gum disease treatment:
- Limits bleeding and kills bacteria
Numerous gingivitis and periodontitis patients suffer from severe gum bleeding and bone loss. Therefore, it’s critical to remove bacteria from the teeth and gingival pockets. Lasers provide the benefit of not only removing the bacteria but also killing them. This helps reduce bleeding and swelling of gums. It may even eliminate the need for further gum disease treatment such as gum surgery.
- Shorter healing time
Laser treatment is precise, causing little trauma to the gum, tooth and surrounding structures. This means your healing time is drastically reduced compared to traditional surgery. Patients will recover faster thereby reducing treatment time.
- Minimally invasive treatment
Lasers are less invasive than traditional treatment. Laser treatment often eliminate the need for the typical dental instrument. This reduces the sense of pressure that patients feel, thereby eliminating the numbing of the area. The overall result, is less pain and discomfort for patients. With minimal discomfort, patients will feel less anxious and more relaxed during treatment.
- Minimizes risk of bacterial infection
Lasers help in sterilizing the work environment and lower the risk of bacterial infections. In essence, lasers prevent cross contamination from one area of the mouth to the next. Laser therapy helps offer better clinical results with shorter treatment times while reducing discomfort and the need for more invasive treatments.
Most dentists do not use the dental laser. That number will definitely increase as patients request this faster, safer and minimally invasive technology to meet their health and wellness needs. Lasers are here to stay and will one day become the gold standard for the majority of dental services.
Dr. Kendal V. O. Major is Founder and CEO of Center for Specialized Dentistry which is a comprehensive family dental practice operating in Nassau and Freeport. He is the first Bahamian Specialist in gum diseases and dental implants since 1989. He also is a certified Fast braces provider. His practice is located at 89 Collins Avenue, Nassau at (242)325-5165 or [email protected].