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People are often surprised to learn that lasers have been used in dentistry for over 20 years. There are many different applications in dentistry from teeth whitening to cavity removal and many more. When lasers in dentistry were first launched, common uses included just whitening and desensitizing teeth. Now lasers are used for cosmetic, surgical and restorative dentistry.
At Sheppard Village Dental, we are proud to offer the new Waterlase iPlus from Biolase. This laser has the capacity to assist with restorative treatments (fillings and crowns), periodontal treatment (gum surgery and tissue recontouring), implant procedures, root canals, and much more. The tip of the laser fiber is so small compared to the size of a traditional drill bit, which allows for more precise targeting of bacteria and decay within a tooth while still preserving the healthy tooth structure. It uses air and water, often without physical contact, which adds up to quicker healing and less post-op discomfort!
One of the biggest benefits is that most of the procedures can be completed with significantly reduced or no anaesthetic at all. The laser is extremely precise and a more comfortable tool when used for certain procedures. When used in periodontal therapy, the laser can stimulate bone growth, recontour tissue, remove calculus off teeth, and clean the surfaces of implants making them safe to use around the titanium component.
Our patients at Sheppard Village Dental enjoy the benefits of laser therapy. Many smaller procedures can be completed comfortably using the laser without the need for “freezing.” For example, a patient needing multiple fillings may be able to have significantly less or even no anaesthetic and the treatment will be completed more quickly and conservatively. Our patients report that they were able to return to work quicker, healed quicker and had significantly less discomfort when the laser was used in conjunction with their care. Our dentists have completed all training required to use the lasers and will customize settings based on what your specific treatment requires.
When used for soft tissue treatment, the laser provides a more comfortable treatment because it seals off blood vessels and nerve endings so healing is almost instantaneous. An example of soft tissue use of the laser is crown lengthening when a tooth is broken off near the gumline. By clearing a little extra space cleanly below the gumline, it allows the dentist to place and maintain the edge of a filling or crown without having to worry about moisture control or access. Because there is minimized bleeding and significantly less swelling, there is often noticeably less discomfort after the procedure.
When used for hard tissue treatments such as restorative purposes like treating cavities, the laser seals the tubules in the tooth, making it more resistant to future decay. After the laser treatment, there is often decreased hot and cold sensitivity where the restoration has been placed. This results in less damage to the tooth and often less post-op discomfort with quicker healing.
Safety of Lasers in Dentistry – The Canadian Dental Association has cleared the use of dental lasers based upon guidelines referred to as “a method of delivering controlled amounts of energy to carefully limited areas. The energy is used for the purpose of changing the state of hard and soft tissues and dental restorative materials.” This is based upon multiple scientific articles confirming long term usage of various similar machines in this category.
At Sheppard Village Dental, we also have a DiagnoDent, which is a non-invasive cavity detector laser that creates a fluorescence allowing the dentist to essentially see through the tooth. It operates as an additional aid in determining if decay is completely cleared out of a groove or under the surface of a tooth, facilitating more thorough treatments and more conservative care. This laser can be used instead of x-rays for cavity detection making it an ideal aid for women who are pregnant.
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