Technology is ever evolving with the dentistry industry seeing sophisticated advances over the years and laser treatment being introduced in 1991. Laser dentistry can be a precise and effective way to perform many dental procedures.
“With the advances we have had in science, the use of lasers in dentistry has now become a part of everyday clinical practice and is a safe, advanced and gentler alternative to traditional dental tools,” says Dr Wim De Beer’s, Cosmetic Dentist at The Cosmetic and Dental Emporium’s (CDE) V&A Waterfront practice. “We have realized how patients have a more rapid recovery time and healing process through laser treatments,” he further explains.
Medical professionals use lasers, which are extremely focused light beams, to alter or remove tissue in small amounts. Dentists use lasers in a variety of procedures involving the inside of the mouth, be it to remove overgrown tissue, to reshape the gums, or to whiten teeth. Sometimes, laser dentistry is ideal for children who become anxious or afraid when having dental work done.
Last year saw the first ever Mastership in Laser Dentistry Course in South Africa, as these states of the art techniques courses have not been available locally before. Below, Dr. Wim explores some of the benefits of laser therapy and the different techniques:
- Patients who need procedures performed using soft tissue dental lasers may not require sutures, or better known as stitches
- Anaesthesia may not be required in certain procedures
- Patients lose less blood than traditional surgery
- The laser will sterilize the gums, making infection less likely due to the high-energy beam
- Damage to surrounding tissue is minimized which shortens the healing time
Types of Dental Lasers
The two main types of lasers dentists use during the procedures are hard tissue and soft tissue lasers. Each laser uses a different wavelength that makes it appropriate for cutting into that specific type of tissue for adults and children.
- Hard Tissue Lasers – this form of laser treatment is used primarily on the teeth – the wavelength of one of these lasers can cut through both water and bone. These lasers can very accurately cut into your teeth, removing small amounts for shaping purposes or in preparation for procedures. Hard tissue lasers are used for:
- Preparing teeth for dental fillings
- Detecting cavities
- Tooth sensitivity
- Soft Tissue Procedure – The soft tissue lasers use a light wavelength that haemoglobin and water absorb easily and this molecule is found in blood, which makes soft tissue lasers ideal for any work done on the gums.
Soft tissue lasers are used for:
- Crown lengthening
- Dealing with restricted tongue movement
- Reshaping the gums to create a more pleasing smile for less of a ‘gummy smile’
- Removing folds in oral soft tissues caused by dentures
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