Lasers have become an integral part of modern day dental practice and almost 30% of dentists today own lasers in their practice .
Some of the aspects to be considered form a practice management perspective is that lasers reduce chair side operating time, minimize patient discomfort, in most cases reduce or minimize the need for anaesthesia, return on investment is predictable and gets better with proper training and experience.
Unfortunately not many dentists and hygienists are aware about various applications of lasers apart from a superficial idea that lasers are applied in periodontal disease management, gingivecomy and frenectomy. Continued education helps professionals upgrade their skills and knowledge which can help clinicians apply concepts and techniques toward maximum utilization of the machine, better return on investment and improved revenue generation for the practice.
The primary focus however is Clinician comfort, better predictability of surgical procedures, better patient satisfaction, higher patient acceptability and patient comfort.
This write-up aims to throw some light on the debate
“should clinicians introduce lasers in their practice or conventional methods are better “
We welcome discussions on this subject.
Laser is a device which emits a beam of light through a process which involves optical amplification based on the principle of stimulated emission of radiation.
Laser stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.
There are many types of lasers which include Gas lasers, Dye lasers, Metal vapor lasers, Solid state lasers, and Semiconductor lasers, among others.
In dentistry there are 3 types of laser applications performed.
- There are the soft tissue lasers; the diodes 800 to 1100nm., NdYAG 1064nm,CO2 9600 to 10,600nm.
- There are hard tissue Lasers like ErYAG 2940nm., ErYAGYSGG 2780nm and CO2 9300nm.
- Low level laser are in the 550nm to 980nm which are primarily used for therapy like application.
Primarily in Dentistry we have the red lasers 630-670nm., and the infrared lasers 790-920nm.
low level laser will be covered in detail in a future discussion.
LASERS in General Dentistry
In dentistry the most common lasers used in a dental practice are the diode lasers.
The biggest reason for this is their small size, their portability, their low cost and their ability to carry out many dental procedures. Diode lasers were first introduced to dentistry in the 1990s.
Over the past two decades there has been tremendous amount of research, development, innovation and the modern day laser systems are portable, effective, efficient and can be easily used in regular general dentistry daily practice.
Some applications of Soft tissue diode lasers in general dental practice are:
- Periodontal currettage and gingivectomy-gingivoplasty
- Soft tissue crown lengthening
- Troughing for crown impressions
- Removal of lesions and granulation tissue
- Haemostasis and coagulation
- Exposure of implants and un-erupted teeth
- Treatment of soft tissue lesions such as herpetic lesions and apthous ulcers
- Bleaching of teeth
Hard tissue lasers are of two types:
- ErYAG and ErYAGYSGG which are highly absorbed by water and use Photo-acoustic streaming to develop the energy to remove tooth structure and bone.
- 9300nm CO2 which uses Hydroxyapetite absorption to ablate tooth structure.
Some of the applications of hard tissue lasers in a general dental practice are:
- Preparation of carious lesions in teeth
- Soft and hard tissue crown lengthening
- Endodontic procedures
- Removal of lesions in the bone
- Removal of impacted teeth
- Soft tissue and periodontal procedures
- Treatment of peri-Implantitis
Thanks to Dr.Ross , Dr.Kapil and Dr.Ashvath for sharing their thoughts.
( Disclaimer : This is not a scientific article. The objective of this discussion is to educate the general public & Professionals , to help them make better choices , create awareness about the various applications of LASERS in Dentistry )