There has been a revolution in the use of laser technology in dentistry over the last 30 years. As the scope of applications has expanded, its benefits over traditional methods of oral health treatments have become widely known. From the cold lasers used for the relief of pain, reduction of inflammation and acceleration of wound healing, to ablative-surgical lasers used for excisional and incisional biopsies and treatment of oral mucosal conditions, laser technology is the way of the future for dentistry.
Some of the benefits that lasers can offer to patients’ outcomes in our daily practice are:
Less post-operative pain means less anxiety
Lasers have been shown to provide a type of analgesia, which helps to reduce the need of local anaesthesia for conservative treatments and for surgical laser procedures. This can reduce anxiety in patients, especially children who are uncomfortable with the use of the dental drill.
Minimally invasive treatment
If you have had your tooth drilled then you will know how traumatic and painful such an experience is. Even with the application of a topical anaesthesia or injection into the gums, the vibration and heat caused by the drilling motion can still cause pain, not to mention it feels like your mouth is being jackhammered.
Laser dentistry does not cause the same discomfort and may even eliminate the need for anaesthesia in some cases.
Laser technology uses a very narrow beam of light, so it hits the soft tissue or the hard tissue structure just where the cut or incision has to be made.
For example, when removing cavity in preparation for a filling, a laser can precisely remove just the decayed portion of the tooth and keep most of the healthy part intact. The same is true when cutting through soft tissues like a pathological lesion, the laser is aiming at the target tissue only and maintaining the integrity of the adjacent tissues.
Controls and reduces bleeding
The wavelengths that target the soft tissues have an affinity to interact with certain chromophores to achieve haemostasis and allow the clinicians to work in bloodless fields. Evidence-based literature has shown that soft-tissue lasers cut and coagulate by sealing the blood vessels at the same time. This is enormously beneficial, especially for patients who are on anticoagulant medications. It means there is no need for sutures as the wound heals by secondary intention.
Lasers of different wavelengths have great benefits in the management of periodontal diseases and root canal procedures as they reduce the number of pathogens and the pro-inflammatory mediators, helping to reduce inflammation and minimising swelling.
The laser beam is able to penetrate inside the periodontal pocket, eliminating the bacteria that caused the disease and reducing both infection and post-operative complications after surgical laser treatments.
Reduction of neuropathic pain
Many studies have showed that photobiomodulation (low-level laser therapy) has reduced neuropathic pain in patients who have had third molar surgery, dental implants, or root canal therapy. Also, this phototherapy helps to manage the intensity of pain in burning mouth syndrome (BMS) and in oncology patients who suffer from oral mucositis as a result of their treatments.
Study laser dentistry with us
The new UCL Eastman Dental Institute-University of Genoa fellowship in laser dentistry is the first academic course in the UK with collaboration between two outstanding universities. It will provide clinicians with sound knowledge and experience with laser-tissue interaction, which in turn will enable them to use the laser therapy to benefit their patients’ experiences and outcomes.
Do not miss this unique opportunity!
For more information visit www.ucl.ac.uk/eastman/cpd/courses/laser-dentistry.