L - Lasers (A to Z Challenge April 2014)

What are lasers and how does it work?
A laser is an instrument that produces a very narrow, intense beam of light energy. When the laser comes in contact with tissue, it causes a reaction.

How are lasers used in Dentistry?
Lasers have been used in dentistry since 1994 to treat a number of dental problems. Though they have been approved by the FDA, no laser system has received the American Dental Association's (ADA) seal of acceptance. Some dentists are using laser to treat:
  • Tooth decay
  • Harden filling material
  • Gum disease
  • Biopsy or lesion removal
  • Speed up teeth whitening
  • Help treat infections in root canals
  • Remove muscle attachments that limit proper movement
  • Expose partially erupted wisdom teeth
  • May cause less pain than conventional drills
  • May reduce anxiety in patients uncomfortable with the use of the drill
  • Minimal bleeding and swelling during soft tissue procedures
  • May reduce the need for anaesthesia
  • Treatment gets expensive
  • Cannot be used in many commonly performed dental procedures.
  • Do not eliminate the use of anaesthesia
  • Traditional drills may still be needed to shape the filling, adjust the bite and polish teeth even when lasers are used