Though a fairly recent technology, lasers are used for a wide variety of things nowadays—including everything from medical procedures like eye surgery to laser tag and funny cat memes, and yes . . . even for dental treatments. While watching the cat “chase the red dot” can provide endless amusement, dental lasers can be pretty amusing, too—if you find technological advancements and better dental care amusing, that is (which we do)! Lasers are pretty cool, if you ask us, because they allow us to provide our patients with a higher level of care and with more comfortable treatment.
The word laser actually stands for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” Dental lasers emit a very thin and concentrated beam of light energy, which is calculated in wavelengths. Some dental lasers are better suited for soft tissue treatments, whereas others are ideal for handling hard tissue procedures. The laser we use at Tomasik Family Dental is a dual wavelength laser that can be used on both soft and hard tissues.
Dental lasers can be used in place of drills and even as anesthesia during procedures like cavity fillings. This is something many patients really enjoy about laser dentistry—especially if the sound of the dental drill is like nails on a chalkboard to you. The laser light beam sterilizes the area, thus reducing bacteria and limiting the chance of infection. For surgical procedures, a dental laser gives Dr. Tomasik a more precise tool, which means less bleeding, less damage to surrounding tissues, and faster healing time for you. The dental laser really is a “do it all” dental tool.
What exactly can a laser do? A dental laser is truly a versatile piece of dental technology because it can detect, treat, and repair a variety of dental issues—all while keeping the area sterile, thereby promoting quicker healing. Here are some of the ways we are using the dual wavelength laser at Tomasik Family Dental.
A laser can find evidence of tooth decay in its early stages, making treatment easier and less invasive. During cavity treatment, Dr. Tomasik can “zap” the cavity with the very precise laser. When compared to using a dental drill, use of the laser means that less of the healthy tooth will need to be removed. Also, with traditional cavity treatment, your dentist first has to numb the area with a local anesthetic, which is often the part of the procedure people dread the most. But using a laser for cavity treatment can remove the need for numbing, which means no shots and less dread. Dr. Tomasik believes in preserving as much of the natural tooth as possible, which is why he prefers laser cavity treatment. Additionally, lasers are safe and effective in treating cavities for both adults and children. So, rest easy knowing that your entire family can get quick and safe treatment with lasers. And your kids may even think it’s pretty cool!
Snoring can prevent a good night’s sleep, which is critical to your overall health and well-being. Snoring can result in oxygen deprivation, which can then lead to more serious issues, such as headaches, high blood pressure, depression, and even heart attacks. Whether you snore or your partner snores, neither of you is getting the quality sleep you need. Don’t sacrifice your health because of snoring!
Snoring is the result of a partially blocked airway and could be caused by several things. Dr. Tomasik will give you a thorough evaluation to determine the root cause and to see if laser treatment can provide you with relief from snoring. The laser works by reshaping the palatal area, thus opening the airway and allowing you to breathe better. This procedure doesn’t require anesthesia or downtime, and you can experience results within weeks. So, if you or your partner has been putting off talking to your dentist about snoring, maybe a laser snoring treatment could add a cool factor to a not-so-cool problem.
Lasers can be used for gum surgeries that are both cosmetic and restorative. Cosmetic procedures like gum contouring give patients with “gummy” smiles more of a toothy smile by simply removing the excess gum tissue.
If you’re happy with the size and shape of your gums but have noticed redness, swelling, or sensitivity, you could have gum disease. Gum disease, or gingivitis, can be relatively easy to treat, but if left untreated it can progress into something more serious called periodontal disease. We recommend keeping up with your regularly-scheduled hygiene appointments so you can have a professional cleaning and so that your hygienist can carefully monitor your gum health.
If you do have gum or periodontal disease, the dental laser can provide faster, easier, and quicker treatment, with less recovery time. Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP®) is a treatment used to treat periodontal (gum) disease. This treatment offers patients a less traumatic alternative to traditional periodontal surgery that requires cutting and sewing of the gums. The laser will remove the diseased area of the gum and will sterilize the pocket area, while also helping the blood to clot.
Healing of Cold Sores and Ulcers
Cold sores and mouth ulcers can be painful and can make you feel self-conscious. Dr. Tomasik can use the dental laser to treat both of these conditions. It is a painless and short treatment that works by killing the virus that causes the sore or ulcer to form. Patients can experience immediate relief from cold sore and ulcer pain, and the laser can minimize healing time, as well as the pain experienced during healing.
What are some of the benefits of laser dentistry?
- Better precision
- Less damage to surrounding tissues
- Reduced need for sutures
- Minimalized bleeding (because the laser promotes blood clotting)
- Reduction in anesthesia amounts in some cases
- Lower chance of bacterial infection (because the laser sterilizes the area)
- Faster healing time
You’re probably thinking, “This all sounds great, but are lasers safe?” And the answer is yes! In fact, all lasers sold in the United States have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Dr. Tomasik has received specialized training in laser use. Oh, and you also get to wear some cool laser glasses to protect your eyes during your procedure! So rest easy knowing that Tomasik Family Dental has invested in a high-quality laser as well as in additional training to give you the best and safest treatment possible.