Published on February 1, 2019, Updated on February 1, 2019
Whenever we go in to our dentist and get a cavity procedure done, we typically are given a shot to numb the pain. Laser treatments, however, use a drill-free and shot-free process to work on your teeth without the annoying after effects of numbness. Laser treatments is a faster treatment than traditional dental work, and has a faster healing and regeneration rate. Learn more about whether dental laser treatments is the option for you and your child for your next dental checkup!
Dentistry is one of the oldest medical professions, dating back as far as 7000 BC with the Indus Valley Civilization, and even Aristotle and Hippocrates wrote about treating decaying teeth in ancient Greece. The first book devoted to dentistry, called “The Little Medicinal Book For All Kinds of Diseases and Infirmities of the Teeth,” was published in 1530, even though it wasn’t until the 1700s when dentistry became more defined and better known among the general public. In 1723, a French surgeon named Pierre Fauchard, known as “the Father of Dentistry,” published his book “The Surgeon Dentist: A Treatise On Teeth” which defined a system for caring and treating teeth while also introducing the idea of dental fillings. In the United States, the first dental practice was opened in 1841 in Alabama and twenty years later the American Dental Association was formed. Although dentistry has evolved and improved throughout the centuries, good oral health care was not a common practice in the United States until after World War II when soldiers brought back the oral health concepts that they learned while stationed abroad. To this day, dental practices and procedures continue evolving with new technologies to make the patient’s experience more efficient and comfortable.
One of the newest technologies that dentists everywhere are beginning to implement is called dental laser treatments. Laser dentistry is accomplishing what we all have wanted during our dental checkups-making a cavity procedure a drill-free and shot-free experience. Using laser treatments allows dentists to avoid the use of shots or injections during procedures, which decreases the amount of discomfort and pain, especially for children. Like a drill, lasers are used to remove hard and soft tissues in variety of dental procedures, such as crowns, fillings, and even laser teeth whitening. Laser treatments also are known to offer better clinical results in a shorter amount of time and are less invasive for the patient. Treatments vary depending on whether a soft or hard tissue laser is used. Most lasers that are used are for soft tissue, such as the gums, while hard tissue lasers focus on cutting “hard” tissues, like teeth. Soft tissue lasers are useful in cutting gum tissue to improve visibility, allow better access, and for aesthetic purposes. Hard tissue lasers can help remove tooth decay, prepare cavities for fillings, and etch the tooth enamel so that a filling can bond to it.
Whether a soft or hard tissue laser is used, laser treatments fulfill many purposes. They are better able to treat cold/hot sensitivity by sealing the tubules at the root of the tooth, find subsurface cavities that elude x-rays, repair speech impediments that are caused by the tongue, fix a gummy smile, and recontour gum and bone tissue to build a stronger tooth structure. Most commonly, they are used to accelerate the teeth whitening process and conduct deep cleanings to remove tartar. Although laser treatments isn’t considered “mainstream” in global dentistry, it is a fast-growing practice that nearly eliminates painful injections and drastically cuts the large amount of time in the dental chair that you normally get with a traditional drill. For this reason, laser dentistry has become more popular with pediatric dentists as it is an option that is less intimidating and traumatic for young children with fears of shots and dental work.
Heat, vibration, and pressure are the main causes of pain when using a traditional drill and can cause anxiety in young patients. Laser treatments can be a comforting alternative to drills as they cut both hard and soft tissue without heat, vibration, or pressure, plus they can lessen the need for dental anesthesia, which means fewer numb lips. One of the most prominent reasons that laser treatments are sought after is because they help reduce pain. As humans, we are averse to pain, and when it comes to our mouths, dental work can become a scary and painful experience. Because the laser seals nerve endings in our teeth, this can eliminate the use of anesthesia and numbing products. Laser treatments also minimize bleeding and swelling during soft tissue treatments as the laser seals the blood vessels, which allows for almost immediate blood clotting. Lasers also help cauterize incisions, which can get rid of the need for stitches almost entirely. These treatments reduce the risk for infection while promoting faster healing and regeneration as the laser sterilizes the area during treatment.
At Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we specialize in dental laser treatments and can treat patients without injections in 99% of cases. Laser treatments allow for precise procedures and a more pleasant experience at the dentist, especially for your child. If your child struggles with visiting the dentist because of scary shots and drills, give us a call for a consult about how laser treatments can improve your child’s oral health and attitude about the dentist. Call (720) 887-6003 to learn more!