Laser dentistry is used today for a variety of sensitive, painful dental procedures. A dental hygienist can use a soft tissue laser to provide a minimally invasive, and more comfortable treatment option for their clinic's patients.
What is Laser Dentistry?
Laser dentistry is a non-invasive, innovative approach to dentistry. Used since 1989, dental clinics have used lasers for a variety of procedures. Laser dentistry may offer a more comfortable treatment option for both hard and soft tissue dental procedures compared to drills and other dental tools, making laser dentistry a growing request from patients. Especially patients who experienced higher levels of dental anxiety.
Hard Tissue Lasers
Hard tissue lasers are used for treating teeth issues. The wavelength of hard tissue lasers can effectively cut through enamel and is highly accurate. These lasers are able to remove small amounts of a tooth for shaping, or in preparation for other procedures.
Hard tissue lasers can be used for:
- Cavity detection and removal
- Treating tooth sensitivity (to seal the roots of the tooth)
- Preparing teeth for dental fillings and crowns
- Teeth whitening
Soft Tissue Lasers
Soft tissue lasers use a lighter wavelength than hard tissue lasers. This wavelength can easily be absorbed by both hemoglobin and by water. Hemoglobin is the protein found in red blood cells.
As their name applies, soft tissue lasers are used for soft tissue procedures dealing with the gums and are especially helpful for reducing bleeding, promoting a faster recovery time post-surgery, and performing certain cosmetic procedures.
Soft tissue lasers are used for:
- Crown lengthening
- Reshaping gummy smiles
- Treatment of cold sores
- Repairing soft tissue
- Removing soft tissue for treating sleep apnea
Benefits of Using Lasers in Clinics
Compared to traditional dentistry treatments, laser dentistry offers faster healing times, less pain for patients, and less post-surgical bleeding. For dental hygienists, lasers can be a great tool for improving the quality of treatment provided.
Here’s how a laser can be used for a variety of procedures, and how lasers may benefit these procedures. Always check with your regulatory body to determine what is in your scope of practice.
Laser-Assisted Periodontal Therapy (LAPT)
Following periodontal therapy such as root cleaning or scaling, lasers can be used to target and treat diseased tissue and bacteria from periodontal pockets. The laser’s precision allows a dental hygienist to remove only diseased tissue without needing to cut away healthy gums or into bone.
Laser-assisted periodontal therapy provides patients with a more comfortable experience through a minimally invasive procedure that eliminates or greatly minimizes instances of pain.
Bacterial Reduction (LBR)
Using a laser before cleaning or in addition to a patient’s regular cleaning can reduce the presence of harmful bacteria in gum pockets. This procedure only takes around four to five minutes to complete.
The benefits of LBR include:
- Improved oral health
- A fortified immune system
- Greater resistance to infection and gum disease
- Reduced risk of cross-contamination between healthy and diseased teeth and gums
Oral Lesion Treatment
Lasers can be used to treat herpes lesions and aphthous ulcers. Since patients should not be treated when they have a cold sore, lasers can help speed along their treatment so they are ready for a rescheduled appointment. Oral lesions can be treated in approximately two minutes with a laser or used to comfort a particularly painful lesion.
Tooth sensitivity is a concern for numerous patients. Sensitive teeth make it difficult to drink or eat foods at certain temperatures, and can even discourage patients from regularly maintaining their oral health. Using a laser, dental hygienists can help treat sensitive teeth through laser therapy.
Are you a dental hygienist looking to learn more about laser dentistry? Contact rdhu today to learn about our on-demand educational courses.