Lasers are a part of our everyday lives, and the dentist office isn’t any different. At Drs of Smiles, we have incorporated lasers throughout our practice, using them for everything from contouring gums to activating whitening gel.
Recently we added the Multiwave Locked System Laser, a moderate-power therapeutic laser that helps our patients by managing and reducing pain, providing a speedy recovery, and reducing inflammation. We now use lasers to improve procedural outcomes and manage pain and inflammation.
What Is Laser Therapy?
Laser therapy uses light to accelerate the body’s natural healing process. Dr. LeSueur, Dr. Glenn LeSueur, & Dr. Dodaro now use our Multiwave Locked System, or MLS, Laser to address ulcers in the mouth, to reduce inflammation after treating gum disease, to reduce pain in the mouth, and even outside the mouth for helping with TMJ and other pain. We use our cold laser to treat TMJ related pains in the head, neck, back and shoulders.
What Is Laser Dentistry?
Not many people know, but the word “laser” is actually an acronym. It stands for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” Lasers first came to the dental world in 1994, but the technology only continues to improve. When we felt lasers could benefit our patients, we added them to our tools at Drs of Smiles. We incorporate lasers in combination with traditional practices to improve the treatment of various hard and soft-tissue problems. When used for soft-tissue procedures, such as gum contouring, the Diode Laser has the ability to precisely cut, coagulate, ablate, or vaporize targeted soft tissue.
Benefits Of Laser Technology
At Drs of Smiles, we believe in staying at the forefront of dental technology. That’s why you’ll find eight intraoral cameras, a variety of lasers, the K7 Evaluation System, and a TENS unit for TMJ. We’ve used our Diode Lasers and MLS Laser for dental procedures for years which provide our patients with benefits that include:
- Soft tissue work often doesn’t require sutures
- Certain procedures no longer require anesthesia
- Patients unnerved by the sound of a dental drill can relax
- Lasers instantly sterilize the treatment areas
- Damage to surrounding tissue is minimal
- Wounds heal faster
- Tissue regenerates more efficiently
- Procedures can be done more quickly
What Do You Use Laser Dentistry For?
We use lasers prominently for soft tissue work, but we are finding more uses for hard tissue, as well. These uses include:
- Gum disease: Laser energy vaporizes infected tissue, instantly disinfects the area, and triggers tissue regrowth. When trimming away diseased gum tissue, the laser precisely cuts the tissue, but then it also seals blood vessels and nerve endings. This usually removes the need for sutures, plus it reduces post-procedure pain and speeds healing.
- Gum contouring: When a patient wants to address his or her gummy smile, lasers provide the most precision, instant sealing of the wound, and the least distress to the nerves.
- Other soft tissue uses: We can expose late-descending teeth in children, without sutures and scalpels. We use the laser to removal tissue around partially erupted wisdom teeth. We are even able to close and heal canker sores and other mouth ulcers.
How Does Laser Therapy Work?
Laser therapy with our MLS Laser is different from procedure laser dentistry. The MLS Laser delivers therapeutic wavelengths of 808nm (anti-edema and anti-inflammatory) and 905nm (analgesic). These wavelengths are higher than older low-power lasers, but below high-power lasers. Therefore, they produce anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects without the risks of thermal damage.
With laser therapy at Drs of Smiles, we use laser light to accelerate the body’s natural healing processes. The laser is moved over the treatment area and the light energy penetrates the tissue. There it interacts with various chromophores that cause different biological effects. These are broken into analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and biostimulating effects.
Analgensic effects of laser therapy include blocking of pain stimulus conduction, an increase in endorphin synthesis, and modulation in pain threshold. Anti-inflammatory and anti-edema effects of laser therapy include an increase in lymphatic and capillary vessel permeability and clearing of inflammatory inducing molecules. Finally, biostimulating effects of laser therapy include an increase in the supply of nutrients, oxygen, and growth factors, activation of cellular function, an increase of protein synthesis, and reduction of scar tissue formation.
Laser Therapy Treatment Areas
There are intraoral, inside the mouth, and extraoral, outside the mouth uses for laser therapy. Within the mouth we use laser therapy to seal and promote healing of mouth ulcers, to reduce inflammation after periodontal treatment, and to reduce either chronic pain in the mouth or to reduce pain after a performing a procedure such as root planing. Outside of your mouth, we use our MLS Laser to treat head and neck pain and for various aspects of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) treatment.
Is Laser Dentistry And Laser Therapy Safe?
Lasers are taking an increasingly prominent role throughout medical and dental care. In many ways, they are actually safer than manual techniques such as gum contouring with a scalpel. This is because the laser energy instantly closes the incisions, instantly disinfects the wound, and creates a perfect incision that heals more quickly. Plus, it does this with little or no pain.
The power of laser energy is not painful because the laser wavelengths are absorbable by water and hemoglobin, the oxygenating protein in the blood. The laser energy can instantly vaporize infected gum tissue without the need for a scalpel. Additionally, the energy instantly coagulates the blood vessels and seals nerve endings, so there is dramatically less pain and usually, the incisions don’t require sutures. The same is true with laser therapy, where the moderate level of laser energy used doesn’t cause burning or pain, but simply initiates various healing and pain relief mechanisms in the treatment areas.
Is Laser Dentistry Only for Adults?
Laser dentistry services are great for people of all ages. In fact, this technique may be highly beneficial for children who need to see the dentist because the laser does not carry the sounds and vibrations of the traditional dental drill. Adults have seen the dentist many times in their life already so are accustomed to these sounds. In this instance, then, the use of laser enhances the dental experience in several ways not associated with potential dental anxiety. Children are still acclimating to seeing the dentist. They may feel more frightened due to the new-ness of this type of care, so can benefit from the gentle nature of laser dentistry specifically as it pertains to minimizing their anxiety around dental visits that require treatment. Being a family dental office, it’s important to us that patients of all ages are made to feel as at ease as possible during their visits.
Is Laser Good for Frenectomies?
Soft tissue lasers used in dentistry have long been involved in the performance of frenectomy procedures. The frenectomy is done to correct “tongue-ties,” a condition in which an infant’s tongue or lip is “tied” to the floor of the mouth or the cheek in a way that inhibits the full range of motion. Being tongue-tied can prevent an infant from nursing well, and may create a challenge for speech development.
Laser dentistry makes the frenectomy procedure faster, less uncomfortable, more precise, and also shortens the recovery time needed after treatment. Passing a beam of laser light through the attachments that are “tying” the tongue causes immediate detachment. At the same time, the laser cauterizes the cut, sealing off the blood vessels and significantly reducing post-operative bleeding. When a laser is used as an alternative to a scalpel, the frenectomy can be completed without stitches.
How Can Laser Dentistry Treat a Gummy Smile?
A gummy smile is a common cosmetic concern for which adults of all ages seek treatment. Having a gummy smile means that there is extra gum tissue covering teeth, making them appear smaller than seems normal for an adult mouth. A gummy smile may also direct the eye more to the gums than the teeth even when the teeth themselves are normal size. The standard procedure performed to correct gummy smiles is surgical gum contouring. Laser dentistry can make the process easier.
During laser gum contouring treatment, the dentist directs a beam of laser light to the edges of the gums. The thermal energy immediately obliterates a precise section of the gums without harming adjacent tissue. The dentist can see the changes as they occur, resulting in outstanding cosmetic results. As the laser trims away gum tissue, it also seals blood vessels, reducing bleeding to next to nothing and significantly reducing post-treatment recovery time.