The Benefits of Laser Dentistry
The laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) was first used for medical purposes in 1963 to coagulate retinal lesions. By 1967, Dr. Endre Mester, of Semmelweis University, in Budapest, Hungary was using the first low-level laser to stimulate wound healing in his studies on mice. Today, many medical specialists such as veterinarians, dermatologists, chiropractors and ophthalmologists regularly use low-level laser therapy (LLT). While dentistry has been slower to embrace LLT, which produces a very narrow, intense beam of light energy, it is now a valuable tool in the hands of knowledgeable dentists that are aware of the nearly pain-free benefits which have become popular among patients.
The most lauded benefit of LLT is that the dentist may not need to use a drill or administer anesthesia, allowing the patient to enjoy a more relaxed dental experience. Additionally, laser procedures are more precise and can reduce symptoms and healing times associated with traditional therapies. LLT also reduces the amount of bacteria in diseased gum tissue and tooth cavities and controls bleeding during surgery.
Dental lasers can be used to cover partially erupted wisdom teeth, remove decay from a cavity and prepare the tooth for a new filling, manage gum tissues during impressions for crowns, remove swollen tissues caused by medications, remove inflamed gum tissue and reduce the amount of bacteria within a periodontal pocket, treat abscessed gums and infections in root canals, activate whitening substances that are used to lighten teeth, perform biopsy procedures and remove or reshape excess gum and bone tissues during crown-lengthening procedures. It can also correct speech problems caused by a tongue-tie—a condition that restricts the tongue’s range of motion.
Waterlase Dentistry, which uses LLT and a gentle spray of water to perform a wide range of dental procedures, is particularly good for young children. Because LLT does not generate heat, vibration or pressure, the primary causes of pain associated with the use of the traditional dental drill, many dental procedures can be performed with fewer shots, less need for anesthesia and fewer numb lips.
Mark Corke, DDS and Patricia Bachman, DMD, operate Laser Dentistry, 1550 Matthew Dr., in Fort Myers. For more information, call 239-936-5442 or visit FortMyersLaserDentist.com.