What Is Laser Dental Hygiene?

Dental_CareLasers may seem more at home in the worlds of science or science fiction than in dental care, but the number of dental practices using laser technology has doubled since 2008. Here are a few facts about this increasingly popular dental treatment technology and its potential to improve oral health outcomes. 

How Dental Lasers Work

Dentists use lasers for two different types of procedures: those involving hard tissue such as teeth and bone, and those involving soft tissues, such as gingiva (gums). A different type of laser is used for each type of application. Heat is the primary mechanism of action in a laser – a very focused and directed type of heat that results in the excitation of tissues in the mouth. Typically, a pulse from the laser either boils away water within and between the cells, or causes micro-expansion of hard tissue, resulting in a tiny explosion that removes the unwanted tissue.

Treatments Using Laser Technology

One of the most promising benefits of laser technology in dental care is its potential to facilitate bacterial control. Some dentists believe that laser bacterial reduction can be an effective part of dental care for all patients – since controlling bacteria in the mouth is one of your dentist’s primary concerns.

Lasers are cleared for use in dentistry through the Food and Drug Administration. Dental professionals are permitted to use lasers for a variety of purposes that fall within the scope of their practice and which conform with state law.

Some of the most common laser-assisted dental procedures include sulcular debridement (removal of diseased soft tissue in the periodontal pocket); the Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (or LANAP), which is an alternative to traditional “cut-and-stitch” surgery for severe cases of periodontal disease; and using lasers to reduce teeth sensitivity, detect cavities, and speed up in-office teeth whitening procedures.

“Lasers are becoming a trusted tool in the provision of dental care,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist in private practice in central Phoenix. “The technology provides a precise, effective way to achieve desired treatment results.”


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