Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, and author of the bestselling book Age With Style— A Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living, discusses laser dentistry.
A laser is basically a light. It’s kind of like the pointer you see when you’re going to a lecture. Lasers are basically like frequencies that are utilized. There’s different frequencies in which they’re used. Some are used for aviation. Some lasers are used to cut. Certain lasers are used to point at a screen.
In dentistry, lasers are used for specific causes. There are certain lasers we use to, again, for surgical procedures. There are a lot of lasers that we actually use that are going to be for killing bad bacteria. We like that because lasers are highly selective; that we can actually zero in on what we don’t want and work with that.
What are some of the specific treatments that can be used with lasers?
For lasers, we can do a multitude of things. I love using lasers mainly because the healing is so wonderful, and it’s quicker, and also it’s better for the body. I can also do cavity preparation without any anesthesia, so no shots. We’re actually able to do some cavity fillings without that, which is great.
Also, for deep cleanings. We’re able to do some deep cleanings with a laser. It selectively kills bad bacteria. We can do certain things like frenectomy, also periodontal surgery with lasers, which give us a really great solution.
The thing that I really love about the lasers also is that they do something called photobiostimulation. What photobiostimulation is, is using the laser light to activate our immune system to respond. Let’s say, you got to cut. If you got a cut, and we can use a laser to do a photobiostimulation, your healing time for the cut will be a day or two at most, versus the seven to 10 days.
Are lasers approved by the FDA?
Yes, they are. Lasers are approved by the FDA and heavily regulated and are specific to what we can use them for.