The dental drill has been a vital tool for dentists in their mission to restore health and function to decayed or damaged teeth. It has also earned a reputation as one of the more frightening aspects of dentistry — the sound and sensations it produces can make even the bravest of patients nervous.
But the development and growing use of lasers by dentists for many dental procedures is reducing the use of this traditional dental tool. In many cases, laser procedures are proving to be less invasive or destructive.
Laser is an acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” While other light sources emit light along with several wavelengths of the visible spectrum, a laser produces and amplifies a narrow beam of light on a single wavelength.
There isn’t one kind of laser — there are many depending on the particular wavelength it produces. That has opened the door to a variety of applications.
What are lasers used for?
For many years, lasers have been used for soft tissue procedures, especially for the treatment of periodontal disease. In the hands of a skilled dentist, a laser can precisely remove only infected tissue and leave healthy tissue minimally affected.
After the treatment, a residue of carbon known as char remains and serves as a dressing that can aid in healing. The result: less tissue damage, less bleeding and speedier healing time.
Now, however, lasers have entered the domain of the dental drill with new FDA-approved hard tissue procedures. As with soft tissue, they are proving effective with removing only the necessary amount of affected enamel and dentin in a decayed tooth.
The result: the laser is more effective than the dental drill in preserving a greater amount of a tooth’s structure.
Current lasers are very effective with small cavities, but a bit slower and less efficient with larger cavities. All in all, though, the laser is quickly becoming a welcome alternative to traditional drilling techniques.
According to a recent YouGov survey, 45% of adults in the UK are unhappy with their smile, 56% would consider treatment to improve their smile, and a quarter makes a direct link between their teeth and self-esteem.
These days people are not looking for suspiciously perfect teeth like gleaming white Hollywood nashers but something that is more appropriate and makes us feel good about ourselves. Views on what constitutes a “perfect smile” have also evolved over the years.
Lasers advance dentistry once again Over the course of the past weekend, Dr. Doshi talked about how Lasers were overtaking the dentist drill to a group of established highly qualified dentists. His seminar ran over due to the excitement it was stirring amongst the dentists.
There was also an exhibition of all the latest innovative Dental Lasers that dentists could now use. This proved to be an eye-opener with regards to the possibilities dentistry now offered patients.
Medically reviewed & updated on April 3, 2019