Lasers have been available in dentistry for approximately two decades. The first reported dental laser was used in 1960. Laser dentistry has come a long way and today, laser technology is routinely used in dentistry for many types of procedures. The specific types of procedures that are performed depend on the type of laser and its wavelength.
Diode laser is a soft tissue laser and its wavelength is 810-980nm. Here are some of the procedures that are performed with the diode laser:
Laser Bacterial Reduction
• The energy from the laser goes into the pockets
-Reduce the bacteria flora in the mouth
-Stimulate new cell growth and healing of the tissue
• The laser procedure is usually performed after the dental cleaning (prophy/ periodontal maintenance)
• Painless procedure, does not require numbing
• Takes 5-10 minutes for the full mouth treatment
Laser Periodontal Therapy
• The laser selectively removes the necrotic and diseased/infected tissues that line the inside collar of the gum tissue
• Reduces infection/inflammation and stops the bleeding
• Regenerate healthy new tissue
• Reduce pocket depths
Topical gel or local anesthesia can be used. The laser has the ability to seal off the nerve endings and blood vessels. There is less discomfort and less post treatment pain after.
Treatment of Oral Ulcerations (Herpetic Lesions)
• Herpetic lesion is also known as Cold Sore.
• The laser energy kills the surface virus and inactivates the lesion.
• Nerve endings are cauterized so the symptoms (itching, burning, tingling, pain) subside.
• The laser procedure is about 90 seconds and it is usually done about 1-3x.
• Lesion can be gone about 3 days after treatment
Treatment of Oral Ulcerations (Aphthous Ulcers)
• Aphthous Ulcer is also known as Canker Sore.
• There is no viral component.
• It is an autoimmune disease and there is the bacterial component.
• The laser energy kills the bacteria
• Same treatment protocol as the Herpes Lesion:
-the laser procedure is about 90 seconds and it is usually done about 1-3x
• The laser procedure is also successful for denture or partial denture sores, orthodontic aligners, and sores from fixed orthodontic appliances
• Laser whitening performed in the mouth is about 20 minutes. The entire procedure from beginning to end is about 35-40 minutes (including preparation of applying on bleaching gel, rinsing the teeth)
• Surveys show that 74% of patients get about 8-10 shades lighter.
• Surveys show the increase in shade change is influenced by the initial shade but not by gender or age.
• Laser whitening demonstrates better whitening as compared to other commercial light activated whitening systems
• Benefit of laser whitening is that the treatment time is short and less damage to the teeth.
• Take Home Maintenance kit is recommended: bleaching trays (upper & lower) and bleaching gel
Laser Pain Therapy
Indication of the laser treatment:
• Pain and stiffness in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
Signs & symptoms of TMJ disorder:
-facial pain, dull and chronic headaches,
- jaw locking, cling/popping sounds in the jaw joint,
-bite that feels uncomfortable,
-neck, shoulder and back pain
-swelling on the side of the face
• Injury to the neck or head
• Clenching or teeth grinding
Benefits of the laser treatment
• Helps to temporarily increase the blood circulation and relax the muscles
• Helps to temporarily relieves joint pain and stiffness
• Laser Pain Therapy delivers penetrating therapeutic warmth to temporarily relieve minor pain
• Procedure is only 5-10 minutes for each site treated per visit. The procedure can be repeated as needed. 3-4 visits are recommended for good result.