Dental Laser Treatment

Last updated date: 13-Apr-2023

Originally Written in English

Dental Laser Treatment

Miaman's introduction of the laser in dentistry in the 1960s sparked a surge of research into the different applications of lasers in dentistry. There are two scenarios: on the one side, there are hard lasers, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), neodymium yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd: YAG), and Er:YAG, which give both hard and soft tissue applications but have disadvantages due to high costs and the risk of thermal injury to the tooth pulp, and on the other side, there are cold or soft lasers, which are relied on semiconductor diode devices, which are compact, low-cost devices used mainly for applications, are widely known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or biostimulation. Lasers are used in dentistry for a variety of procedures because of their convenience, effectiveness, specificity, comfort, and low cost compared to traditional modalities.

If you're a worried dental patient looking for maximum safety and comfort, you should look for dentists who use laser procedures in their practices and treatments. The number of general dentists who own a laser for soft-tissue applications is estimated to be around 6%, with that number expected to rise over time. As the range of uses for dental lasers grows, more dentists will use the technology to give precision treatment to patients, perhaps reducing discomfort and recovery time.

 

What is Dental Laser Treatment?

Laser dentistry

Laser dentistry is the practice of performing dental operations with laser beams (concentrated light beams). This beam is absorbed by the surface of a patient's gums or teeth when it is directed at them. The light's energy then attacks the tissue at that location.

Dentists calibrate their lasers to precise wavelengths in order to target specific tissues. Targeting allows them to manage the laser's effects and ensure that just the tissues the dentist seeks to remove are affected. Many dental operations can be performed more precisely and effectively with laser dentistry.

The capacity of the dentist to modulate power output and duration of exposure on the tissue (whether gum or tooth structure) allows for the treatment of a highly targeted region of focus without injuring neighboring tissues, which has the potential to improve dental operations.

Many dentists who use laser dentistry in their practice have received specialized training from a variety of sources. They are given specialized strategies to aid in the safe and successful application of dental lasers. Even if they have not had this training, dentists can provide laser therapy to their patients.

 

Dental Laser Treatment Advantages

Dental Laser Treatment

Dentistry has never been easier or more painless than it is now, thanks to lasers. There are a lot of advantages to dental laser treatment, including the following:

  • Faster healing times. One of the best things about dental laser treatment is how little pain and discomfort it produces when compared to traditional methods. As a result, people who have laser dentistry procedures recover more quickly than those who have traditional procedures. In fact, after laser dental procedures, several patients report feeling no pain or discomfort at all.
  • Reduced infection risk. When traditional metal dental instruments are used during treatments, they can induce gum abrasions, allowing infections to develop. This is not something that lasers can do. Instead, lasers function to sterilize the region on which they are directed, killing the vast majority of bacteria in the process. What's the end result? Infection risk is significantly minimized.
  • Reduced discomfort. Laser dentistry, as previously stated, is often less painful than traditional dental treatments. It can often eliminate the requirement for anesthesia completely.

 

Dental Laser Treatment Benefits

  • Sutures (stitches) may not be required for procedures conducted with soft tissue dental lasers.
  • Anesthesia is not required for some treatments.
  • The high-energy laser beam facilitates the clotting (coagulation) of unprotected blood vessels, reducing bleeding and preventing blood loss.
  • Because the high-energy laser sterilizes the surface being operated on, bacterial infections are reduced.
  • The amount of damage to the surrounding tissue is kept to a minimum.
  • Wounds heal more quickly, and tissues can regenerate.

 

Dental Laser Types

Dental Laser Types

Erbium, Nd:YAG, Diode, and CO2 are the most commonly used dental lasers nowadays. The biological effects and processes associated with each type of laser are unique. Any doctor interested in using lasers in their practice should have a thorough understanding of each of these device types.

  • Erbium laser. Hard tissue lasers, such as erbium lasers, are a form of hard tissue laser. In dentistry, there are two types. Their two distinct classifications are based on the crystal that powers them and the wavelength that they emit. The two primary erbium lasers are categorized as Er, Cr: YSGG lasers and Er: YAG lasers. In comparison to standard dental tools, these hard tissue lasers minimize vibrations and noise. They may prepare enamel and bone, as well as perform a variety of other tasks. There is usually no need for as much anesthetic when lasers are used instead of high-speed dental tools, and recovery is faster because there is less trauma to the mouth area.
  • Nd:YAG laser. In 1990, Nd:YAG lasers were the first genuine pulsed lasers to be solely offered for dental usage. They have a wavelength of 1064 nm, which is near-infrared. Pigment in the tissue, primarily hemoglobin and melanin, absorbs this wavelength. The laser energy can penetrate deeply into tissues due to photothermal interactions. Depending on the process being conducted, both contact and non-contact modes are used. Nd:YAG has excellent biostimulatory qualities as well. Nd:YAG lasers offer the unique ability to safely coagulate blood, which is useful for extractions and soft tissue operations after surgery. When the pulse duration is set to 650 microseconds, the effect is amplified. Periodontal treatments are the most common application for these lasers. Their propensity towards pigmented tissue enables excellent periodontal pocket debridement and cleaning. Bacterial decontamination in tissues treated with Nd:YAG laser energy aids in periodontal infection clearance.
  • Carbon dioxide laser. The CO2 laser is excellent for rapidly eliminating soft tissue. It is, however, expensive, heavy, and prone to causing hard tissue injury. Its use, on the other hand, allows for minimum tissue penetration, resulting in rapid operation.
  • Diode laser. Soft tissue lasers are known as diode lasers. If you've ever used a laser pen, you'll recognize how diode lasers work. They're usually small and inexpensive, which makes them a popular choice in the dental field. Laser tooth whitening, impression troughing, gingivectomies, and other procedures all employ diode lasers. Their primary application is intraoral soft tissue therapies, but they may cover a wide variety of procedures in this area.

 

Dental Laser Treatment Types

Dental lasers

A range of hard and soft tissue lasers have been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in dental laser treatment of adults and children. Dental lasers are utilized to perform specialized dental treatments due to their unique absorption characteristics.

  • Hard tissue lasers. Hard tissue lasers use a wavelength that is very absorbable by hydroxyapatite (a calcium phosphate salt present in bone and teeth) and water, allowing them to penetrate through the tooth structure more effectively. Erbium YAG and Erbium chromium YSGG are two types of hard tissue lasers. Hard tissue lasers are mostly used to cut into bone and teeth with high precision. Hard tissue lasers are frequently used to prep or shape teeth for composite bonding, remove small portions of tooth material, and repair specific worn-down dental fillings.
  • Soft tissue lasers. Soft tissue lasers have a wavelength that is significantly absorbable by water and hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells), which makes them more useful for soft tissue treatment. Soft tissue lasers, such as Neodymium YAG (Nd: YAG) and diode lasers, are commonly employed in periodontal treatment and have the potential to destroy germs as well as activate tissue regrowth. The carbon-dioxide laser causes less tissue damage and eliminates tissue more quickly than the fiberoptic technique. Soft tissue lasers penetrate the skin and seal blood vessels and nerve fibers. This is the main reason why many people report little or no postoperative pain after using a laser. Soft tissue lasers also speed up the healing process. As a result, an increasing number of cosmetic dental practitioners are adding soft tissue lasers into gingival sculpting operations.

Depending on the patient's demands, some dental laser techniques have been introduced that can produce both hard and soft tissue laser energy.

Other laser types are specifically intended for inspecting the insides of teeth and cells using Optical Coherence Tomography, a non-invasive imaging approach, in addition to the lasers used for cutting and shaping hard and soft tissues. Other lasers deliver energy and specialized proteins to help transport messages between cells, mimicking the body's natural ability to repair injured cells using light spectrums.

 

Hard Tissue (Tooth) Procedures

Hard Tissue (Tooth) Procedures

  • Cavity detection. Low-intensity soft-tissue dental lasers can be used to discover cavities early by measuring the by-products released by tooth decay.
  • Dental fillings and tooth preparation. Hard tissue dental laser treatment may eliminate the requirement for local anesthetic administration and the traditional turbine dental drill in dental fillings and tooth preparation. Lasers utilized in dental filling operations have the ability to eliminate germs in cavities, which could lead to better long-term tooth restorations. Dental lasers, on the other hand, should not be used to replace amalgam fillings, onlays, or crowns.
  • Tooth sensitivity. Dental lasers can be used to seal tubules (which are found on the root of the tooth) that cause hot and cold sensitivity.
  • Apicoectomy. To help with endodontic therapy, certain dental practices use dental lasers. One example is laser-assisted apicoectomy (also referred to as root end surgery), a frequent endodontic procedure for treating infected root canals without the need for tooth extraction. Dentists may access gum tissue, remove diseased or inflamed tissue, and remove the very tip of the tooth root with laser precision, reducing pain and recovery time. The preservation of as much natural tooth as possible is a key goal of dental repair. Dentists can employ dental lasers in root canal treatment to improve dental health with precision while avoiding tooth extraction.

 

Soft Tissue (Gum) Procedures

Soft Tissue (Gum) Procedures

  • Crown lengthening. Dental lasers can restructure gum tissue (soft tissue laser) and bone (hard tissue laser) to show a stronger tooth structure. Crown lengthening is a type of contouring that creates a firmer base for the placement of restorations.
  • Gummy smile. Dental lasers can be used to restructure gum tissue, exposing good tooth structure and improving the appearance of a gummy grin.
  • Muscle attachment (frenula). A laser frenectomy is an excellent therapy option for children with tongue ties (restricted or tight frenulum) and babies who are unable to successfully breastfeed due to limited tongue motion. A laser frenectomy could potentially aid in the removal of speech difficulties.
  • Soft Tissue Folds (Epulis). Dental lasers can be used to remove soft tissue folds caused by ill-fitting dentures in a painless and suture-free method.

 

Other Uses of Dental Laser Treatment

  • Inspecting tooth and gum tissues. Optical Coherence Tomography is a less invasive method of viewing the inside of teeth and gums in real-time.
  • Benign tumors. Dental lasers can be used to remove benign tumors from the gums, palate, sides of cheeks, and lips without the use of sutures.
  • Cold sores. Low-intensity dental lasers reduce the pain and length of time that cold sores take to heal.
  • Nerve regeneration. Photobiomodulation can be used to restore nerves, blood vessels, and scars that have been injured.
  • Sleep apnea. In circumstances where sleep apnea is caused by tissue overgrowth in parts of the throat (which happens with age), a laser-assisted uvuloplasty or laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty operation can be used to reconstruct the throat and relieve the associated breathing issues.
  • Teeth whitening. Low-intensity soft tissue dental lasers can help speed up the bleaching process.
  • Temporomandibular joint treatment. Dental lasers can be used to relieve pain and inflammation in the temporomandibular joint rapidly.

For specialized hard and soft tissue applications, lasers represent a novel and more precise technology. If you choose a laser dentist, you may discover that you are more at ease and experience less anxiety during the procedure.

 

Dental Laser Treatment Cost

Dental Laser Treatment Cost

Because many dentists do not provide laser dentistry, it is impossible to anticipate how much this type of dental work may cost you.

It is crucial to highlight, however, that laser dentistry necessitates a major financial investment on the part of dentists. A single dental laser might cost anything from 500 to more than 100,000 dollars. Traditional dentistry equipment, on the other hand, costs a fraction of that: often only a few hundred dollars.

Because of the difference in equipment expenses, most dentists charge a little more for dental laser treatment than they do for traditional treatment. Gum contouring, for example, can cost anything from 50 to 350 dollars per tooth. Manual contouring is normally on the lower end of that range, whereas laser contouring is on the higher end.

If you want to experience laser dentistry but don't have a lot of money, check around. You might be able to discover numerous dentists who provide this type of therapy. Inquire about their prices, as well as any discounts or payment arrangements that they may be able to provide. This isn't a guaranteed strategy to save money on laser therapy, but if it's something you really want, it's worth the try.

 

Is Dental Laser Treatment Covered by Insurance?

Laser dentistry is sometimes, but not always, covered by health insurance. Your insurance may only cover a part of your entire costs when it is covered.

Laser dentistry is not fully recognized within code systems, which is one of the reasons why insurance coverage is inconsistent. Although there are certain unique billing codes for dental laser treatment, they do not cover all of the ways that laser dentistry is commonly employed. Some practitioners bill for laser therapy using various codes, while others just bill for procedures like gum contouring using regular codes.

If cost is a problem, inquire with your dentist about how laser dentistry procedures are commonly billed. When budgeting for the expense of your therapy, you'll know what to look for in your insurance coverage.

If the operation you pick isn't considered aesthetic, you might be allowed to use funds from your HSA or FSA to pay for your laser treatment. Ask your plan administrator for clarification if you're not sure if your operation qualifies.

 

The Future of Dental Laser Treatment

Future of Dental Laser Treatment

Thanks to the growing prevalence of dental laser treatment, dental operations may soon be performed faster, more effectively, and more comfortably. For years, laser technology (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) has been used in a variety of medical procedures. Dental lasers will be used in a growing percentage of dental offices around the world as technology improves and costs fall.

Dentists may utilize dental lasers to remove tartar during a professional dental cleaning and as a replacement for the traditional root planing treatment, which is currently done with a surgical device called a curette, which can cause tissue damage. Dentists may eventually be able to access any portion of a tooth using dental lasers, eliminating the need for a standard dental drill. This could help to alleviate the worry and anxiety that many individuals have when seeing the dentist.

 

Conclusion

Dental laser treatment nowadays can serve various helpful roles when utilized by properly qualified experts, ranging from soft-tissue lasers to those suited for hard-tissue applications, and from lasers used for dental examinations to those approved for therapeutic uses.

Laser therapies, which are an alternative to traditional treatment techniques, minimize the number of required visits and stress, improve visibility, improve patient satisfaction, and reduce problems. Laser therapy, like any other less-invasive treatment, avoids many of the difficulties associated with surgical treatment while also promoting regeneration.