Although it has been around since the mid 90’s, many people don’t really understand what laser dentistry does, why it’s so important, or that you can find it right here in Frederick, MD! The dentists at Monocacy Valley Dental are skilled at using laser dentistry to treat a number of different dental conditions, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Patients find that laser dentistry is more comfortable and cost-effective than the traditional options.
Why Use Laser Dentistry
While lasers can’t be used in all cases, such as on teeth that already have fillings, a dental laser replaces the dental drill in the majority of procedures at our Frederick, MD dental practice. It causes virtually no pain, vibration, or noise and makes your visit to the dentist more comfortable.
Lasers can’t be used to prepare teeth for bridges or to remove crowns and silver fillings. Other benefits of using laser dentistry over other methods include:
- When having a soft tissue laser procedure performed, you’re less likely to need stitches.
- The high-energy light beam encourages clotting of your blood, so you bleed less.
- In some cases, you won’t need anesthesia
- Most patients have less pain after laser dentistry treatment because the lasers seal the nerve endings and blood vessels at the same time they are penetrating the tissue.
- The laser kills bacteria in your mouth so you’ll have less of a chance for an infection
- Your open wounds tend to heal faster because the laser activates tissue regeneration
- Laser dentistry procedures won’t harm the surrounding tissue so much.
Types of Laser Dentistry
There are two primary types of laser dentistry procedures. Hard tissue laser procedures are performed on the teeth, while soft tissue laser dentistry is performed on the gums. Dental lasers have unique absorption characteristics and so they are used to perform specific dental procedures that require this innovative and precise technology. Most patients feel more comfortable and have less anxiety when visiting a dentist like Monocacy Valley Dental that offers laser dentistry options.
Soft Tissue Laser Dentistry
The lasers used for soft tissue dentistry procedures have a wavelength that is easily absorbed by water and the hemoglobin in your red blood cells which gives this type of laser an advantage for affecting your soft tissue. It can penetrate your soft tissue while sealing the blood vessels and nerve endings, reducing your post-procedure pain and allowing your tissue to heal faster. Here are some of the most common procedures that are used with soft lasers:
- Crown Lengthening: Dental lasers can reshape both gum tissue (using a soft tissue laser) and bone (using a hard tissue laser) to give your jawbone a stronger foundation for placing dental implants or other restorations.
- Reshaping Gums: If you have a “gummy smile,” Dr. Motz can use soft lasers to reshape your gum tissue and expose your healthy teeth.
- Treating Muscle Frenula Attachment: Your frenulum is the small fold or ridge of tissue under your tongue. Children who are tongue tied (they have a restricted or tight frenulum), babies or are not able to breastfeed because of limited tongue movement, or those with a speech impediment due to a restricted frenulum can be treated with soft lasers - called a laser frenectomy.
- Removing Soft Tissue Folds: An epulis is a tumor-like growth) on your gums. Dental lasers can be used to remove these soft folds, sometimes caused by dentures that don’t fit correctly.
Other Soft Tissue Laser Applications:
- Cavity Detection: Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) can provide images of dental tissue in real-time. OCT imaging allows early detection of many oral diseases, including caries, periodontal disease, and oral cancer.
- Benign Tumors: Dentists can use lasers for removing benign tumors from the gums, palate, sides of cheeks and lips with no pain and no stitches.
- Cold Sores: Low-intensity dental lasers reduce pain associated with cold sores and minimize healing time.
- Nerve Regeneration: Photobiomodulation can be used to regenerate damaged nerves, blood vessels, and scars.
- Sleep Apnea: If your sleep apnea is caused by tissue overgrowing inside your throat, a laser can be used to perform a uvuloplasty where we reshape the throat and relieve the breathing problems associated with sleep apnea.
- Teeth Whitening: Lasers are often used on cosmetic dentistry such as the soft tissue dental lasers that are often used to speed up the bleaching process associated with teeth whitening.
- Temporomandibular Joint Treatment: Dental lasers may be used to quickly reduce pain and inflammation of the temporomandibular jaw joint.
Hard Tissue Laser Dentistry
The wavelength of hard tissue lasers is highly absorbable by water and hydroxyapatite (the calcium phosphate salt that is found in your bone and teeth). This allows the lasers to cut through the structure of a tooth, making them useful for common dental treatments such as fillings. The most common hard tooth laser procedures include:
- Dental Filling Prep: Dr. Motz uses hard tissue dental lasers instead of drills to remove decay within a tooth and prepare the surrounding tooth enamel for the filling material. This often eliminates the need for anesthesia shots as well. The laser can also kill any bacteria within the tooth cavity, possibly leading to longer-lasting tooth restorations. However, dental lasers are not appropriate for the replacement of amalgam fillings, onlays or crowns.
- Tooth Sensitivity: Teeth that have a sensitivity to hot and cold can be treated with dental lasers that seal tubules in on the tooth’s root.
Make Your Appointment With Your Frederick, MD, Dentist Today!
Dr. Motz is proud of the work he and his team provide in the area of laser dentistry to his patients in Frederick and the surrounding communities. With extensive training to provide the appropriate power levels for when using lasers, Dr. Motz is able to provide precise, painless, and effective treatments using laser dentistry techniques. Best of all, laser dentistry is cost effective. It often allows procedures to be completed in fewer sessions, further reducing the cost compared to the use of traditional tools. Learn more about how you can benefit from laser dentistry treatment by calling our office at (301) 698-0044 or request an appointment online. We’re always happy to answer your questions and look forward to caring for your oral health.