Laser treatment by the dentist

Many people are afraid of the dentist. Most people are afraid of drilling their teeth. But the anaesthetic injection is also perceived as unpleasant. Laser treatment can avoid both.

The laser releases a highly focused, high-energy light beam. During the laser treatment of teeth, this happens in impulses. Depending on the work to be performed, lasers with different wavelengths are used. For example, the exact cutting of tissue or the removal of superficial substances is possible. The proven germ-reducing effect of the laser opens up a broad spectrum of applications.

What can lasers be used for at the dentist?

The laser treatment of teeth has established itself in a wide variety of specialist areas:

  • caries treatment
  • Desensitization of sensitive tooth necks
  • Sealing of cheek teeth
  • safe root canal treatment
  • gentle periodontitis treatment
  • surgical interventions

Removing caries by laser treatment

Carious teeth, also known as “laser drills”, are a major area of application for laser treatment.

The laser beam is directed specifically at the carious tissue. Each impulse releases small pieces of substance, which the dentist can then easily remove. Bacteria are also killed and fine channels in the tooth tissue are removed. This prevents the development of caries under the filling.

Due to the short pulse duration of the laser light, a nerve reaction can be avoided. The therapy therefore proceeds practically without pain, the patients often only feel a throbbing. In addition, healthy tissue is spared.

Desensitization of sensitive tooth necks

Open canals in the dentin are often the cause of sensitive tooth necks and teeth that transmit temperature stimuli to the nerve. This leads to sensations of pain, which can spoil the enjoyment of cold and hot food. The laser treatment seals the dentin tubuli within a few seconds. The light energy softens the dentin for a moment so that the surrounding open canals are closed.

Sealing of molars by laser treatment

Fine furrows (fissures) can form on the occlusal surfaces of the molars, providing an ideal space for bacteria. To prevent caries from developing, children seal these fissures with a special varnish. A previously performed laser treatment of the teeth can remove the pathogens and thus significantly reduce the risk of tooth decay due to trapped bacteria in the protective sealant.

Safe root canal treatment

In root canal treatment, the germ-killing effect of laser treatment on the teeth is used in particular. The laser beam also reaches root canals that are difficult to access, so that bacteria can be removed and canals sealed.

Gentle treatment of periodontitis

Periodontitis is an inflammatory gum disease caused by bacteria. In the laser treatment of teeth, the germicidal effect of the laser light is particularly important. With the help of a fine probe, the dentist directs the laser beam specifically at the tooth pockets and thus kills the pathogens contained in them. The inflammation usually heals without complications. In some cases, with more serious illnesses, gums must be removed. Lasers are also used here because they can cut open the tissue without bleeding.

Operative interventions

The advantages of laser treatment in surgical procedures on teeth, gums and other soft tissues of the oral cavity are based on their vascular occlusive effect. This means that bleeding can be avoided and sutures can be avoided. The treatment is usually painless. For the implant insertion, an opening of the gum is necessary, which can be done with a laser. Laser treatment is also suitable for exposing displaced wisdom teeth or for the removal of disturbing mucous membrane frenulum or tooth proliferation.

Is laser application basically possible for everyone?

Laser treatment can actually be carried out on anyone. It is also suitable for patients who, due to certain pre-existing conditions, are better off without anaesthesia or narcosis. Surgical interventions in the mouth with the laser can be performed without bleeding, so that they can be used on patients under blood-thinning medication.

Are there any risks involved in laser treatment?

Laser treatment is associated with a low risk of side effects. Due to the targeted application – the energy of the laser beam works mainly in the area to be treated – the adjacent healthy tissue is hardly damaged. Late effects, such as can occur after X-ray examinations for example, do not usually occur with laser applications, according to findings from almost 30 years of experience. During the application of the laser, the patient and dentist wear special protective glasses to protect the eyes.

What exactly is meant by “painless treatment”?

The pain threshold at which a perception is perceived as pain varies from person to person. However, during caries treatment with the laser, most patients feel a throbbing sensation that they would not yet classify as pain. This painless or painless experience leads to the fact that many patients do not require anaesthesia for further laser treatment. Small surgical procedures often result in little or no pain, and a simple local anaesthetic is often sufficient for larger openings.

When and why is drilling still sometimes done?

To remove old amalgam fillings, the dentist usually uses a drill, as this is not possible with the laser. In contrast, the dentist can practically always carry out the actual caries treatment with the laser. Further applications of the drill depend primarily on how the tooth is to be restored. If, for example, small and medium damages are present, the insertion of a durable plastic filling is possible after the caries removal without additional measures. On the other hand, the dentist usually uses the drill for tooth preparation when an inlay or crown is to be inserted, as the laser treatment takes too long.

What does laser treatment at the dentist cost?

Depending on the purpose of the treatment, the use of a laser costs between ten and 50 euros per tooth. The patient has to pay this amount privately, the statutory health insurance does not cover any costs for this special treatment.

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Christina Cherry
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