October 2022

Laser Dentistry: Brightening Lives and Smiles

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Dentists have been exploring the use of lasers since the 1960s. Today, laser dentistry is considered a safe, minimally invasive, and reliable treatment. From tooth preparation to eliminating fever blisters, laser dentistry has brought an array of cutting-edge therapy options to dental practices across the globe.

Lasers perform light therapy, a treatment with many hard- and soft-tissue applications in dentistry, and with plentiful benefits for both patients and providers. One of the most common procedures is laser periodontal therapy, a safe and effective alternative to traditional periodontal surgery. Dental Care Alliance affiliated dentists are trained in and equipped with dental lasers, and regularly perform laser periodontal therapy, among other procedures.

Laser Dentistry Treatments

Periodontal Therapy

Laser dentistry for periodontal treatment reduces oral bacteria and inflammation and does not require scalpels or sutures. Dead and diseased tissue is stripped away with the greatest precision, and gum tissue is sealed in the laser’s trail.

Patients experience fast healing due to laser dentistry’s regenerative nature, which contrasts greatly with the resective nature (and trauma) of traditional gum surgery. Furthermore, laser periodontal therapy stimulates tissue regrowth, so gums reattach, creating a strong, healthy support system for teeth.

Tooth Preparation

The hard-tissue dental laser can eliminate decay and bacteria in teeth and reshape tooth structure during preparation for a dental crown. Dental lasers do not emit vibrations or loud sounds, which are the primary reasons patients dislike the dental drill.

Dental lasers also treat bacterial gum infections (reduction), Aphthous ulcers or “canker sores” (often caused by eating acidic foods), cold sores/fever blisters (Herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2), Lymphangiomas and hemangiomas (non-cancerous), oral HPV lesions, overgrown gum tissue, tongue ties, frenulum growth (tissue between the two front upper teeth), TMJ/temporomandibular joint dysfunction and dental hypersensitivity. While insurance does not always cover laser procedures, treatment can be achieved affordably, with costs ranging from $40-150 per session.

There are three basic categories of dental lasers: hard tissue, soft tissue, and all tissue.

In addition to its replacement of the dental drill, laser dentistry offers patients and providers many advantages. The benefits of this minimally invasive tool include less anesthesia required, no allergy risk, they are comfortable, fast, and safe. No scalpel or sutures are needed for soft-tissue laser surgery, they have a regenerative effect on soft tissues, they can whiten teeth quickly (light-activated gel or foam), and they are affordable.

There are also significant provider benefits that lead to enhanced job success and satisfaction. Lasers offer ergonomic delivery systems, some are small and portable, they are easy to use with touch screens and pre-loaded settings, and they offer great precision, efficacy, and safety.

Improving Patient Care with Laser Dentistry

Laser dentistry correlates well with Dental Care Alliance’s mission, vision, and values: creating a lifetime of healthy smiles for our patients and being a partner of choice for our providers. With guided certification, education, and equipment, DCA-affiliated providers can seamlessly weave laser dentistry into their patient services.

Most important to patient care, however, are DCAs excitement for and accomplishments with laser dentistry. Our allied providers rave about the results. Dr. Sarah Balaster, Periodontist and Chief Dental Office for DCA’s Specialty Division, says:

“As dentists and hygienists, we positively impact patients’ overall health by using the laser to kill bacteria in their gums. Active gum disease is linked to many systemic conditions, most notably diabetes. Oftentimes, diabetic patients struggle to control blood sugar due to their gum infection, and laser periodontal procedures eliminate that infection bringing their blood sugar back under control.”

Katie Schiller, RDH and Development and Training Coordinator for DCA, shares these extraordinary experiences:

A 30-year-old patient suffered from herpetic lesions (fever blisters) for most of his adult life. He came to us right before COVID-19 closures, and we recommended laser dentistry with the EpicH to reduce the viral load and the potential for outbreaks. After treatment, the patient didn’t have another outbreak for 9 months. He came in for two additional treatments, and now it’s been 2.5 years since his first session; he has had no more lesions.”

A 60-year-old male attended cleanings every three months as periodontal disease maintenance. He only wanted his teeth cleaned at each visit, but we explained how lasers can be used for bacterial reduction and he pursued treatment. After several LBR appointments, the patient saw a significant decrease in inflammation and could manage his oral home care better because his gums were not nearly as sensitive.”

Laser dentistry has a bright future. As the technology continues to advance and evolve, DCA will remain at the forefront, adopting proven treatments for the benefit of both patients and providers. To learn more about Dental Care Alliance, call (888) 876-4531 or visit us online. To learn more about laser dentistry, visit the Academy of Laser Dentistry online.