In recent years, laser dentistry has superseded many traditional dentistry practices, making treatments more precise and less painful. This newer style of dentistry utilizes intense beams of light projected by a dental laser. Dental lasers can be used to perform a wide variety of treatments, including soft tissue shaping and removal.
The FDA deemed laser dentistry to be safe for public usage in 1990. Since then, many dentists have incorporated dental lasers into everyday procedures - reducing bleeding, anxiety and post-treatment recovery times. The beauty of dental lasers is that they damage far less of the surrounding tissue than traditional techniques - which means less discomfort and pain.
Here are some of the other benefits associated with laser dentistry:
- Faster healing and tissue regeneration.
- Preservation of more of the natural tooth.
- Reduced bleeding during and after treatment.
- Reduced need for anesthesia.
- Reduced need for stitches and sutures.
- Reduced risk of bacterial infections after procedures.
How can laser dentistry help me?
Laser dentistry is incredibly versatile and plays an important role in a growing number of common dental procedures. Though laser dentistry is most notably associated with cosmetic treatments, it is equally effective for preventative purposes.
Here are some of the ways that dental lasers can be used:
- Tooth preparation - Prior to laser dentistry, a drill would be required to prepare the tooth for a filling. Lasers can now completely eliminate the need for drilling and anesthesia. Lasers also successfully kill oral bacteria around the surgical site.
- Reshaping soft tissue - Dental lasers can dissolve soft tissue to expose more of the natural tooth (crown lengthening), reshape soft tissue to make ?gummy smiles? more attractive, and remove uncomfortable soft tissue folds caused by denture wear.
- Frenectomy - Lasers can improve speech and the feeding habits of babies, children and adults by untying the tongue.
- Tumor removal - When benign tumors have formed in the soft tissue areas of the mouth, a dental laser can completely remove them without causing pain.
- Whitening - Lasers can greatly expedite the tooth whitening process by increasing the activity of the particles in the peroxide bleaching solution.
- Biopsy - Lasers are sometimes used to perform a biopsy on suspicious areas of soft tissue. This biopsy procedure can be performed instantly and with great precision.
How are laser procedures performed?
Different types of dental laser have been created to treat different conditions. Each laser uses a different wavelength of light, which predicates its best use. The most common types of dental laser are carbon dioxide lasers and diode lasers, which are usually employed to treat soft tissue problems. The dentist will decide which type of laser is best to use after conducting X-rays and a thorough examination.
The laser beam is extremely bright, and special glasses will be provided to protect the eyes. The dentist will then direct the beam at the affected area and carefully dissolve the soft tissue, harden the filling or whiten the teeth.
The procedure will take far less time than conventional methods, and cause far less anxiety and discomfort. The only real disadvantage of laser dentistry is that it can prove to be more expensive.
If you have questions or concerns about laser dentistry, please ask your dentist.
A significant number of Americans do not visit the dentist for regular checkups because they are too fearful or suffer from dental anxiety. Sedation dentistry offers an excellent way to provide a safe, anxiety-free, dental experience to those who are afraid of the dentist.
Sedation dentistry is often mistakenly thought to induce sleep. In fact, most sedatives allow the patient to stay awake during the procedure. Sleepiness is a side effect of some medications, but nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation and IV sedation only work to calm anxiety throughout the dental visit.
Sedation dentistry is popular because most sedatives can be taken by mouth, meaning no injections, no anxiety and no pain. Some sedatives work so effectively that even the smells and details of the procedure cannot be recalled afterwards. Safety and compliance are two important aspects of treatments, so sedation dentistry offers both the individual and the dentist the best alternative.
Whatever the form of sedative, it is essential to be accompanied by a caregiver. Sometimes, sedatives are provided the night before the dental visit, which means that driving to or from the appointment is not advisable.
Here are some advantages associated with sedation dentistry:
- Anxiety is alleviated.
- Few side effects.
- More can be accomplished during each visit.
- No needles.
- No pain.
- Perfectly safe.
- Procedures seem to take less time.
What kinds of sedatives are available?
The most popular types of dental sedatives are nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation. Different levels of sedation (mild, moderate and deep) can be utilized depending on individual needs. Before administering any sedative, the dentist must analyze the full medical history of the patient, taking note of any current medications.
Here is an overview of some of the most common types of dental sedatives:
Nitrous oxide, or ?laughing gas,? is used as a mild sedative. It is delivered through a nose hood, and is administered throughout the entire procedure. Nitrous oxide elevates the general mood and can evoke a general sense of well-being. Most importantly, it relieves anxiety and reduces pain during the procedure. In addition, some tingling and numbness may be felt. There are few side effects associated with nitrous oxide, and it has been safely used in dentistry for many years.
Intravenous sedation is a moderate type of sedation. Patients who have previously experienced IV sedation often report feeling like they slept through the entire procedure. Generally, IV sedation is used for shorter treatments. It is administered via direct injection into the bloodstream, which means the effects are immediate. Sometimes patients feel groggy and sleepy when the IV sedatives are withdrawn. This is why it is important to bring a designated driver for the drive home.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is an excellent choice for people who fear needles. Oral medication is provided prior to treatment in order to induce a moderate state of sedation. Though oral sedatives do not cause sleep, they usually dull the senses. This means that most patients cannot remember the pain, smells or noises associated with the procedure. Usually, a dose of medication is taken prior to the appointment, and then topped up during the procedure as required.
What types of drugs are used in oral conscious sedation?
Most of the drugs used in sedation dentistry are classified as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines reduce anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia and seizures. Each medication has a different half-life, meaning that the effects last for varying amounts of time. The estimated length of the procedure determines which type of drug is going to be most effective.
Here are some of the most common drugs used in oral conscious sedation:
Valium® - This sedative has amnesic properties and a long half-life. It is usually used for time-consuming, complex procedures.
Halcion® - Usually used to treat insomnia, Halcion is an effective sedative with amnesic properties. A short half-life makes this sedative useful for shorter procedures.
Ativan® - This sedative is best known for reducing anxiety. It has amnesic properties and a medium half-life. Ativan is typically used for treatments shorter than two hours.
Versed® - This sedative has the shortest half-life and is therefore less commonly used. It alleviates anxiety in much the same way as nitrous oxide, and is used for visits that will take less than 30 minutes.
If you have questions or concerns about sedation dentistry, please contact our office.
BIOLASE® Technology designs innovative dental lasers to reduce the complexity and trauma associated with many common dental procedures. The drill (aka the ?handpiece') strikes fear into the hearts of many with its noise, vibration, and heat.
The Waterlase® device utilizes hydrokinetic technology to remove hard and soft tissue with laser-powered water droplets. There is no heat, no vibrations, and no noise associated with the Waterlase laser, and it is completely safe. The FDA deemed the hydrokinetic laser safe for use on both adults and children in 1998.
The BIOLASE® Waterlase® is an extremely versatile piece of dental equipment. It can be used to perform or expedite many procedures including:
- Caries removal.
- Cavity preparation.
- Dentin and enamel procedures.
- Gum lifts and reshaping.
- Removal of decay.
- Soft tissue procedures.
What benefits does BIOLASE® Waterlase® offer?
Waterlase® works by precisely combining atomized water and laser energy to gently remove hard and soft tissue. This precision laser means that in most cases, there is no need for anesthesia. Additionally, the laser actually sterilizes the surgical area, meaning that there is less risk of bacterial invasions or infections. For children and fearful patients, the Waterlase® offers a needleless, painless way to achieve the perfect smile.
Here are some reasons why using Waterlase® is preferable to the traditional dental drill:
- Adjacent teeth remain unaffected.
- Faster and stronger bonding of fillings.
- Less of the healthy tooth is removed.
- Minimal bleeding during and after procedures.
- No noise, heat, or unpleasant vibrations.
- Pinpoint accuracy generates better results.
- Reduced number of dental visits.
- Reduced risk of post-surgical infection.
How are Waterlase® procedures performed?
Though each Waterlase® procedure differs in detail, some elements remain constant. First, protective eyewear will be provided to protect the eyes. Second, a small Waterlase® laser will project streams of atomized water to cut into the hard or soft tissue. The laser sterilizes as it moves, which means that in the case of soft tissue augmentation, the whole procedure can be completed in a single visit.
The Waterlase® laser increases comfort levels, reduces anxiety, and reduces cost. In addition, it is one of the least invasive, most effective tools that dentists have at their fingertips. Waterlase® can significantly improve the health of the teeth and restore the beauty of the smile.
If you have questions about BIOLASE® Waterlase®, please ask your dentist.
Our practice takes pride in utilizing advanced dental technologies that increase patient comfort and satisfaction. SIROLaser®, a sophisticated soft tissue laser, allows us to perform cosmetic, endodontic, and periodontic procedures with greater accuracy and less discomfort.
This state-of-the-art soft tissue laser provides an ideal experience for patients suffering from dental anxiety. By eliminating the use of needles, scalpels, and dental drills, fearful patients can enjoy a more relaxing experience.
Benefits of using SIROLaser®:
- Bacterium is reduced
- Many procedures can be performed without anesthesia
- Patients experience less post-operative pain
- Patients experience less scarring
- Patients heal faster without the need for stitches
- Procedures can be completed in less time, with greater accuracy
How does SIROLaser® work?
SIROLaser® emits short, controlled waves of light that cut through soft tissue, cauterizing and sterilizing as it operates. This process effectively improves recovery by reducing post-operative pain and swelling, while decreasing bleeding and risk of infection. Additionally, these light-waves eliminate the need for anesthetic because they are often too short to generate a neural response.
During what procedures can SIROLaser® be utilized?
Because of SIROLaser's® versatility, it can be used in numerous applications. Patients undergoing the following procedures can benefit from SIROLaser®:
- Root canal therapy
- Surgical extractions
- Dental implant placement
- Gum recontouring
- Treatment of periodontal disease
- Crown lengthening
- Oral biopsies
- Treatment of cold sores
- Filling cavities
Uses of SIROLaser® vary depending on each patient's case. Inquire whether you are a candidate during your next visit.
If you have any questions about SIROLaser®, please contact us at your convenience.