The laser was first postulated by Albert Einstein in 1916. He suggested at that time, that portions of the electromagnetic field could be stimulated, thus producing amplified light. Thus the acronym LASER, stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Since then, various scientists have brought this technology forward to the point where dental applications were envisioned, and first tested in 1964. Since then, tremendous advancements have occurred, and we are now seeing hard and soft tissue lasers taking their place in dentistry.
Some commonly asked questions:
1. How does the dental laser work?
The laser emits concentrated energy in the form of a light beam. This beam vaporizes matter. The dental laser delivers a narrow pulsed beam and each pulse vaporizes only a specific number of cell layers within the circumference of the beam. This gives the dentist precise control over the laser.
2. Why is the dental laser different than conventional treatment?
The dental laser is unique because it can be used as a surgical instrument without some of the routine, but unwanted surgical effects. The laser stops bleeding, and seals lymphatic and nerve endings, thereby by-passing inflammation and the usual discomfort that is associated with inflammation.
To summarize, the dental laser is:
• faster and more efficient in many cases
• essentially painless
• more sterile (laser tip sterilizes itself in operation)
• bloodless in most cases
• less invasive
• precise and conserving of healthy tissue
• less painful post-operatively
3. Do patients feel pain?
The majority of patients report no pain. A few report mild discomfort.
4. Is anesthesia required?
Not usually but this varies from patient to patient.
5. Why is pain reduced so greatly?
The dental laser delivers pulses of energy too short to trigger a neural response.
6. What are dental applications of the diode laser?
• SOFT TISSUE MANAGEMENT: The laser is also beginning to be used in dental hygiene with great results. The ability of the laser to kill bacteria in periodontal pockets and rid those pockets of sick and infected tissue has enormous potential, not only as a means of arresting the progression of periodontal disease, but as a fast and simple prophylactic.
• SURGERY: As a surgical instrument, the laser makes extremely accurate, bloodless incisions. Most patients report a substantial reduction in post-operative pain. The virtual elimination of bleeding during surgery gives the dentist a clear view of the operating field and reduces the risk of infection for the patient. This enhances healing greatly, speeding up recovery for the patient.
7. Is the laser safe?
Absolutely, in every way, when used with good clinical judgment.