Lasers in Dentistry

There are two classes of lasers used in dentistry today – ones that cut soft tissue and ones that cut hard tissue. The lasers use a single color (wavelength) of intense light to heat the target. This beam can be focused to an extremely tiny area thus allowing pinpoint accuracy. As it cuts, it will coagulate blood vessels to minimize bleeding and will sterilize the cut surface. The soft tissue laser can be used to reshape gums for a better cosmetic contour and can be used to remove growths in the mouth. Lower intensity lasers can be used to detect cavities in their earliest stages before they can be detected on x-rays or visually. Hard tissue lasers will actually cut tooth structure. If the cavity is not too deep, it may be possible to prepare the cavity and remove the decay without the use of local anesthetic, a big plus for all of the needle-phobics. The heat of the laser can also seal the freshly cut dentinal tubules, the tiny, microscopic pores in the inner layer of a tooth. This can help reduce post-operative sensitivity. For many people, just the thought of not having a drill and scalpel is a great way to ease the tension and anxiety surrounding dental treatment.