Eliminating the Pain – Lasers in Dentistry

Posted by Jason Wickersham on

Anyone of a certain age remembers dreading a trip to the dentist, which usually involved pain. Whether it was the needle used to inject the Novocain or the drill used to prepare a cavity for filling, it hurt! Fortunately, lasers have improved the practice of dentistry or periodontal surgery, making it possible to eliminate much of the pain that causes some people, even today, to avoid regular checkups.

Many dentists now employ an Nd-YAG (Neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet) laser, which uses a crystal as its lasing medium, instead of a drill for most cavities. The laser treatment takes advantage of the simple fact that the material that forms in a cavity is much softer than the enamel, the hard part of a tooth. The laser is set at a power just strong enough to eliminate the decayed tissue but not strong enough to harm the enamel. When treating a very deep cavity, bleeding can sometimes occur, but the laser beam often cauterizes and seals off the blood vessels, eliminating the bleeding.

Lasers also eliminate the pain. Each burst of laser light from a dental laser lasts only thirty-trillionths of a second, much faster than the amount of time a nerve takes to trigger pain. In other words, the beam would have to last 100 million times longer in order to cause any discomfort. So this sort of oral surgery Procedure requires no anesthetic.

Because the laser needs to destroy the decayed tissue without affecting the healthy enamel surrounding it, its power must be precisely controlled. Internal components of the laser such as lenses, windows and mirrorssupplied by Esco Optics help to insure that cavity treatment is painless yet effective.

Lasers in oral surgery

Many people dread oral surgery even more than a visit to the dentist. Before lasers, it involved not only immediate discomfort, often requiring anesthesia, but also long recovery times. Because it involves the mouth, it could also interfere with daily activities such as eating.

Use of lasers in oral surgery, however, significantly decreases post-operative swelling, reducing both discomfort and recovery times. It also increases the range of surgery that oral surgeons can perform safely without fear of compromising the patient’s airway and allows the surgeon to perform many procedures in an office or outpatient facility that previously would have required hospitalization.

Tissue healing and scarring are also improved with the use of the laser. Laser wounds generally heal with minimal scar formation and often do not require stitches, another distinct advantage.

Tooth whitening

Dental bleaching, also known as tooth whitening, is a common procedure in general dentistry. According to the FDA, whitening restores natural tooth color and bleaching whitens beyond the natural color.

A child’s deciduous teeth are generally whiter than the adult teeth that follow. As a person ages, the adult teeth often become darker due to changes in the mineral structure of the tooth as the enamel becomes less porous. Teeth can become stained by bacterial pigments and certain foods. Some antibacterial medications such as tetracycline can cause tooth stains or a reduction in the brilliance of the enamel. Ingesting colored liquids like coffee, tea, and red wine can also discolor teeth.

In-office whitening often involves painting the teeth with a bleaching agent materials such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which breaks down in the mouth to form hydrogen peroxide. The bleaching process is not instantaneous and can require prolonged exposure, but it can be greatly accelerated by use of a low power handheld laser.

Lenses, windows and mirrors supplied by Esco Optics play an important role in assuring this precision. Learn more about Esco Custom Optics here. Here is a reference related to the article – Dental Laser, hope you will like it.

Head over to our blog post about about restoring eye sight with lasers.

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