While most people know that drilling a tooth for a cavity is no picnic, the anticipation and sound the actual drill makes is far worse than anything else could. The sounds emanating from the dental practice can have patients running for the door. So when the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of lasers to treat cavities in 1997, you can understand that many people would be excited about that.
How do lasers work in dentistry?
Just like every other laser, lasers in dentistry deliver energy in the form of light. When used in dental procedures, it can act as a vaporizer or cutting instrument when it is exposed to tissue. It can also help strengthen the bond between the tooth and the filling and dentists can even use it in teeth whitening procedures where the laser enhances the effect of tooth bleaching agents by acting as a heat source.
How can they fix cavities?
The erbium laser is the traditional type of laser used to treat dental cavities. This solid-state laser can quietly remove tiny layers of the tooth and can usually do so without causing any serious discomfort. More often than not, the patient does not need an injection to numb them during the procedure. This type of treatment can be used for small to medium sized cavities and has recently been approved for use in children as well.
What are the benefits and drawbacks?
As with any procedure, there are pros and cons. When it comes to using laser dentistry for cavities, these are the most important factors:
• They do not produce the noise of the conventional drill nor do they heat up
• They may cause less pain in many instances
• Patients afraid of the dental drill will no longer have to be as anxious
• Soft tissue treatments produce less swelling and bleeding
• When removing a cavity, it is possible to preserve more of the healthy tooth
• You cannot use them if there are fillings already in place
• The need for an anesthetic is not completely eliminated
• It can be more expensive
Because of the large investment, many dentists are apprehensive about investing in laser technology. However, those who have done so already often get rave reviews from their patients. The fact that it can do the job quietly is a tremendous benefit for many patients who may not be comfortable with the drill