Laser Dentistry: The Healing Power of Light
Light and healing have been deeply connected in cultural imaginations both symbolically and practically for thousands of years. From ancient Egyptians using sunlight to cure infection and prevent disease to 19th century physicians advocating heliotherapy to combat tuberculosis, cholera, and typhoid fever, the healing power of light has been critical to preserving the health of people for thousands of years. The development of the world's first laser in 1960, however, harnessed the power of light in a way that was never before possible and dentists soon saw the potential of this remarkable technology to modernize both hard and soft tissue treatment. Today, laser dentistry allows dentists to perform a diverse range of treatments with exacting precision and offers optimal comfort for patients to enhance their treatment experience.
The Benefits of Laser Dentistry
Dental lasers use energy in the form of highly concentrated light to cut into teeth, bone, gums, or other tissues in the mouth or provide disinfection without damaging tissue. The highly maneuverable, accurate, and precise nature of the laser makes it possible to remove only what is needed, leaving healthy tissue intact and preserving as much of your natural tooth, bone, and gum structure as possible. Because they don't cause the pressure and vibration of rotary instruments, they are far less likely to cause cracks, fractures, or otherwise damage the tooth in ways that can create new problems. When used to perform gum surgery, dental lasers reduce soft tissue trauma, minimizing bleeding and swelling, promoting more rapid healing, and removing the need for sutures. The minimally invasive nature of the laser means that multiple procedures can often be performed in a single visit.
Whether used on teeth, bone, or gums, lasers are significantly less likely to produce a pain response than traditional instruments, often eliminating the need for anesthetic and providing a more comfortable, relaxing experience. While this improves the comfort of all patients, the reduced possibility of pain is particularly inviting to those who are fearful of dental visits and may have put off treatment due to anxiety. Patients also enjoy reduced recovery times and are usually able to resume normal activities immediately following treatment.
In his own practice, Dr. Kvarnstrom has chosen the Biolase Waterlase dental laser, a highly efficient, flexible, and versatile instrument. This sophisticated dental laser combines light energy with air and water, allowing the Waterlase to run uniquely cold since the laser energy is not hitting tissues directly in most applications. Instead, laser energy is transferred to the water stream and moisture in the tissues, bone or tooth substance, causing micro explosions on the surface of these structures on thereby eroding them away. The water and air may also be turned off to cauterize bleeding tissue.
Although some dental lasers are only appropriate for hard or soft tissue applications, the Waterlase allows for comprehensive hard and soft tissue treatment, including:
- Decay removal and cavity preparation
- Flap preparation
- Frenectomy and frenotomy
- Incision and draining of abscesses
- Root canal preparation, disinfection, and debridement
- Gum contouring/crown lengthening
- Removal of distressed periodontal tissue
Today, laser dentistry is used in over half of the procedures performed in our practice. To optimize safety, we use single-use disposable tips, protecting against cross-contamination.
Want to Learn More?
If you are interested in experiencing the benefits of laser dentistry, we invite you to contact us. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have and are happy to set up an appointment for you at our Fountain Valley dental office to determine if laser dentistry is right for you.