When we think about lasers, we think James Bond or Star Trek where a laser can zap you or kill you. Dental lasers are used in a very different way. They both are used to save the world.( Just Kidding)
People are constantly changing, and the way we think, our beliefs and behavior have changed. Our diets have evolved, and so has our dentistry. We are consuming more and more sugars, eating more meats and processed foods, drinking more soda and alcohol, and smoking. Growing trends in our society are increases in obesity, depression, sleep apnea, heart disease, and hypertension just to name a few. These behaviors correlate to more cavities and periodontal/dental disease.
A few weeks ago, I attended an amazing conference on dental lasers in Seattle to improve the quality of dental care for my practice and my patients. I met many knowledgeable and respectable dentists who have dedicated and made commitments to improve the way we practice dentistry. Dentistry has come a long way with new techniques and procedures using lasers. From low level laser therapy, to laser bacterial debridement, and simple fillings and baby root canals with no anesthesia, desensitizing teeth, or treating herpetic lesions and ulcers, whitening, releasing tongue ties on babies so they can breast feed and have a normal facial development, and sleep apnea and its consequences was pretty awesome. Here is a glimpse of what I learned.
- Lasers promote significant healing for patients with periodontal disease. From a microbiological standpoint, studies have shown that bacterial counts are reduced significantly, and the body is able to regenerate bone and tissue attachment. Bacteria in the mouth that produce endotoxins and biofilms are seriously destroyed.
- Releasing Lingual ties on newborn babies that make it virtually impossible for them to breast feed to develop a good palate and maxilla for facial development, allow our kids to grow up with betterlooking faces and less neurological complications such as ADHD and obstructive sleep apnea.
- Treating cold sores, ulcers and herptic lesions to promote faster healing. Patients will have less pain.
- For patients who have small cavities and are fearful, it is comforting that we can place a filling without an injection and the terrifying sound of the drill.
- Whitening teeth with a laser produces less sensitivity and a fast result.
- This list goes on for procedures preformed with a dental laser.
I am grateful that I can practice dentistry in a day a age where my treatment can make huge difference on overall well being of my patient. Dentistry is no longer just filling and drilling. We can produce better outcomes with the use of new technology. Dentists can promote the overall health and wellness of our patients by making patients look better, feel better and live healthier longer lives.