How Do Lasers Work in Dentistry?
All lasers work by delivering energy in the form of light. When used for surgical and dental procedures, the laser acts as a cutting instrument or a vaporizer of tissue that it comes in contact with. When used for "curing" a filling, the laser helps to strengthen the bond between the filling and the tooth. When used in teeth-whitening procedures, the laser acts as a heat source and enhances the effect of tooth-bleaching agents.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a Laser in Dentistry? • Pros:
Compared to the traditional dental drill, lasers
May cause less pain in some instances, so reduces the need for anesthesia
May reduce anxiety in patients uncomfortable with the use of the dental drill
Minimize bleeding and swelling during soft tissue treatments
May preserve more healthy tooth during cavity removal
The disadvantages of lasers are that:
Lasers can't be used on teeth with fillings already in place.
Lasers can't be used in many commonly performed dental procedures. For example, lasers can't be used to fill cavities located between teeth, around old fillings, and large cavities that need to be prepared for a crown. In addition, lasers cannot be used to remove defective crowns or silver fillings, or prepare teeth for bridges.
Traditional drills may still be needed to shape the filling, adjust the bite, and polish the filling even when a laser is used.