What do Star Wars, Pink Floyd, and modern dentistry have in common? They wouldn’t be possible without high-tech lasers! But lasers aren’t just something straight out of science fiction and psychedelic rock music. Lasers are one of the most versatile, most powerful, and most effective dental technologies available today.
But there are so many misconceptions about lasers and the role they play in your dental health. In today’s article, I’ll explain the truth about dental lasers and clear up some of the myths I’ve heard from patients.
“Wait, what’s a laser anyway?”
It is complicated, but here’s an easy way to visualize what’s happening.
Let’s say you put on a kettle of water to make yourself a cup of ayurvedic tea. As the water heats up, the atoms become “excited” and start to vibrate and bounce off one another. As the water boils, the water atoms become vapor and are focused through the spout, creating the whistling sound that lets you know the water is ready!
Conceptually, a laser is similar. By focusing a beam of light, the resultant flow of energy becomes very powerful.
Did You Know: Just like scuba, the word laser began as an acronym and stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
The mouth-body connection
Lasers truly represent a new frontier and a new standard of dental care. And it all starts with the mouth-body connection — a topic we’ve explored here on the Green Dentistry blog in the past.
But let’s review:
Your mouth is a window to your body. Much like a window left open, your mouth can invite unwanted guests. But instead of prowlers and raccoons, the invaders take the form of dangerous bacterial infections.
Bacterial infections stress the body and create what are known as secondary infections — infections not directly related to the original attack on the body. Bacteria entering through the mouth may (either directly or indirectly) contribute to:
- Heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Diabetes and diabetic complications
- A host of other autoimmune conditions
To prevent these whole-body health complications we must close this window to the body by limiting the growth and spread of harmful bacteria. But killing bacteria without damaging otherwise healthy tissue can be quite a challenge.
Enter laser technology
Let’s imagine the year is 1989 (or even 1999!) and you developed gingivitis, the most common form of gum disease. Caused by bacterial growth and characterized by tender, swollen, and bleeding gums, gingivitis was often treated with painful surgical treatments.
These surgeries required cutting away the diseased tissue with a scalpel. Even the most precise dentist wasn’t able to remove 100% of the infection and couldn’t complete the procedure without damaging at least some healthy tissue. The outcome was inconsistent results and frequent recurrences of the infection.
But today in 2019, dental lasers have changed the game. Because of their design and properties, lasers have 2 serious advantages over procedures that use a scalpel:
- Lasers specifically target diseased tissue and do not destroy ANY healthy tissue
- More than that lasers actually PROMOTE blood flow to the healthy tissue leading to faster healing
Feel better faster without damaging your health? What’s not to love about lasers!?
Laser treatments at Green Dentistry in San Francisco
We’ve found many great ways to integrate laser technology into the treatments available at my practice in San Francisco. We use lasers to:
Treat and cure your gum disease
As mentioned earlier, laser gum disease treatments are truly revolutionary. We can cure gum disease and help your gums actually become healthier without stitches or painful surgeries performed with a scalpel. Laser gum disease treatments produce amazing results in just one treatment session, require minimal anesthetic, and help you to recover FAST without the need for powerful prescription painkillers.
Fix a gummy smile
If you feel self-conscious about your smile because your gums are too visible, don’t worry! A gentle laser procedure can correct and re-contour your gum line and help restore a picture perfect smile!
Eliminate even the smallest amount of tooth decay
The award-winning Waterlase dental laser system is a great alternative to a traditional dental drill. When removing decayed tooth structure to prepare for a mercury-free filling, the Waterlase dental laser is highly effective and often doesn’t require a shot to numb your mouth! Plus, it eliminates the “dentist drill” sound that causes dental anxiety in many people. Best of all, because it’s so precise, the Waterlase allows us to remove ONLY the decay without damaging the healthy tooth. Your filling will be smaller and your tooth will be less likely to fracture in the future. There’s no better way to get a long lasting filling.
Kill bacteria and disinfect gum “pockets”
People with diabetes, heart disease, and other health ailments are especially susceptible to bacterial growth. Lasers can be used to clean the so-called “pockets” of gum tissue where bacteria love to hide.
Encourage bone health during implant procedures
Because dental lasers are designed to promote blood flow and healing they are an ideal complement to a dental implant procedure. When preparing your implant, a dental laser can encourage the growth of healthy bone structure in the jaw and help create a solid foundation for a successful dental implant.
With the help of a laser you can be more confident that your implant and restoration will last a lifetime.
See for yourself at Green Dentistry
If you care deeply about your health and are interested in benefiting from the latest and greatest dental technology, schedule your appointment today. At your first visit, we’ll discuss your:
- Health history
- Any issues you’ve had with previous dentists
- Ideas for how you’d like to see your smile improve
We’ll also talk about how laser dentistry might play a role in your treatment plan. So what are you waiting for? Become a patient at Green Dentistry today!
A graduate of the University of Southern California and the University of California’s School of Dentistry, Dr. Patel is a leader in the movement to bring environmental sanity and well-being into the dental world. As a trusted dentist, Dr. Patel provides her patients with more than just world-class dental care — she helps them recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health. She is also a ForbesBooks and Amazon best-selling author.