Your teenage daughter has just returned from a visit to the family dentist and she's all smiles. When you ask her how things went, Amy joyfully replies " It was a piece of cake. I barely felt a thing."
Prior to heading out to meet her friends at the mall, Amy informs you that she has scheduled a teeth whitening treatment for next month. You can hardly believe what you're hearing.
Amy had nothing against her dentist. He is a friendly, competent professional with a great bedside manner. No, the problem wasn't the dentist, it was the dental drill. Like with most people, Amy's reluctance to get necessary work done was rooted in her dislike and fear of the drill.
As with the majority of patients, everything about that drill upsets Amy, from the horrible , grinding noise it makes to the pain that it causes. Not to mention that obnoxious burning smell that emanates from the drill, which never fails to nauseate Amy.
But, it's all good now. That dreaded dental drill just may be a thing of the past for Amy and anyone who is reading this blog. Amy's dentist, together with thousands of dental professionals across the country, have incorporated lasers into their practice. And this has made a huge difference in the way many traditional treatments and procedures are done.
So, let's take an up-close and personal look at the dental laser and what it can do for you , both in terms of achieving better oral health and greater patient comfort.
Lasers have been used in the field of dentistry, since the early 1990's. But, over the last ten or fifteen years, their use has become much more common place in most practices.
You might be interested to know that the word laser is really an acronym that stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. That's a real mouthful, but, in reality, what a laser does is not all that complicated. It works magic for the fearful dental patient and gives them new hope. Anxiety goes right out the window.
A laser is an instrument that produces an extremely thin, narrow beam of concentrated light energy. When the light from the laser makes contact with the tissue being treated, it causes a reaction. Lasers can be utilized by your dentist in two ways; to cut or shape tissue. This instrument can actually melt away the gum or other tissue, that its' beam touches.
By the way, when we speak of tissues, we are referring to Hard tissue laser dentistry procedures, which deals with the tooth and Soft tissue procedures which concern the gum area.
Low intensity lasers can aid your dentist in detecting cavities that you didn't even know were present. Another hard tissue procedure is the use of lasers in killing off bacteria in your teeth. Many of us suffer from overly sensitive teeth. Exposure to ice cream or a gulp of hot coffee sends shivers of pain through the mouth of someone who has sensitive teeth. But, a laser can provide relief for this condition, simply by sealing the tubules which are located on the roof of the tooth.
Let's take a moment here to impart some helpful advice. Yes, lasers are miracle-like instruments of healing. But, no matter how advanced a particular device is, it's only as good as the medical professional who operates it.
If you are looking for a dentist and laser dentistry is important to you, you must follow a couple of time-tested steps in aiding your search.
First of all, make sure that the dentist is qualified and trained in the use of lasers. Ask about his or her training and credentials. The Academy of Laser Dentistry is a trusted source. Also, don't be afraid to inquire as to how many patients the dentist has treated with a laser. Ask to see before and after results.
Now that we've got that issue covered, let's get back to the benefits and advantages of being treated with a laser.
There is much less discomfort when being treated with a laser. You won't feel any vibrations and little to no pain. Lasers REDUCE the need for local anesthesia . Depending on you pain tolerance level, you may not need any shot of anesthetic , in most cases. lasers do not completely eliminate the need for a needle. That is subject to a case by case decision and is something you will need to talk about with your dentist.
When lasers are used to perform certain surgeries and procedures, there is much less residual bleeding than with a traditional drill. How is this possible ? The laser coagulates the blood vessels in the area being treated. This greatly reduces the amount of blood being lost and it also sterilizes the region. The added benefit is that the laser helps to prevent bacteria from entering your system , causing infection.
We are dealing with very precise, state of the art technology here.
Now, let's be clear about this...lasers cannot be utilized for each and every dental operation or treatment. But, these marvelous devices offer a stress-free alternative to so many traditional, more painful dental instruments and treatment techniques.
Many dentists now offer a multitude of laser services including Periodontal, root canal, teeth-whitening as well as treatment of cold and canker sores. Lasers have helped to revolutionize the field of cosmetic dentistry, as well. Some patients undergo a reshaping of their gum tissue in order to improve their smile and expose healthy tooth structure.
Crown lengthening is a reshaping procedure that builds a strong foundation for the placement of future restorations.
Lasers come into play for several dental bonding procedures like the repair of very minor chips or cracks in the patients' teeth. Yes, laser dentistry most certainly plays a major role in achieving a "Hollywood smile". Perhaps that's why dentists who specialize in cosmetic laser dentistry have more requests for appointments than they can fill.
More and more , dental practices are utilizing the laser's superpowers to remove benign tumors and growths from all areas of the mouth, the inside cheeks, palate, lips and gums. When a laser is used, the need for sutures is eliminated. Post-op healing and recovery time is swifter, as well. There typically, isn't as much swelling, either, as when traditional scalpels are part of the equation.
Whether you want a complete make-over or are just seeking a less anxiety-driven oral health care experience, look into the benefits of laser dentistry and see if it is right for you. The odds are that you won't be disappointed.