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The word LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers are used to create a wide range of products and technologies. They are found in tattoo removal systems, eye surgery technologies, and hair replacement treatments.
In recent years, the use of lasers in dentistry (laser dentistry) has also become an increasingly popular form of dental care.
Laser dentistry has been around since the 1990s and incorporates the use of lasers to treat a wide variety of dental conditions and diseases. It is a minimally invasive alternative to certain invasive treatment options, such as cavity fillings, gum disease treatment, and root canals, among others.
During laser dentistry procedures, your dentist uses a high-powered dental laser that releases light energy to remove tissues. Traditional dental procedures incorporate the use of manual scalpels to remove tissues.
There are four types of lasers used in dentistry, including the Diode laser, CO2 laser, Erbium laser, and Nd:YAG laser. The type of laser(s) used depends on the kind of surgery or treatment you need.
Laser dentistry can treat many conditions related to the hard tissues or soft tissues in the mouth. Dentists can also perform biopsies and cosmetic treatments with lasers instead of manual scalpels.
Common soft tissue laser procedures include:
Common hard tissue laser procedures include:
Other popular laser dentistry treatments include:
Lasers cannot be used for certain dental procedures. This includes filling cavities between teeth, fixing pre-existing dental fillings, or filling large cavities. Removing dental crowns or cavity fillings and preparing teeth for a dental bridge also cannot be done with a laser.
Laser dentistry has been around for almost 30 years. However, it has been growing in popularity in recent years due to new advancements in technology. There are many benefits to dental lasers over traditional manual scalpels and dental instruments. These benefits include:
Laser dentistry is usually more expensive than traditional methods. This is because a dental drill is much less expensive than a high-powered dental laser. A laser can cost anywhere between $6,000 and $100,000, whereas a drill generally costs $1,000 or less.
Similar to normal dental procedures, insurance covers many laser dentistry treatments. However, dental insurance only partially covers restorative procedures and oral surgeries, such as cavity fillings, crowns, and wisdom tooth removal, among others. So, the coverage would be the same for a laser dentistry procedure as it would for a traditional procedure. Cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening and most gum contouring surgeries, are not covered by insurance.
Lasers have been used in dentistry since 1994. They are proven to be safe and effective when used correctly and in combination with other professional dental instruments. Laser dental treatment is also quicker and less painful than traditional methods.
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Johar, Kirpa. Fundamentals of Laser Dentistry. Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers., 2011.
Majid, Nadim. Dentistry Demystified on Amazon. Lulu Com, 2012.
Parihar, Anuj Singh. Contemporary Laser Dentistry. Notion Press, 2018.
Verma, Sanjeev Kumar, et al. “Laser in Dentistry: An Innovative Tool in Modern Dental Practice.” National Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, July 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3700144/.