Gabriela Gerstweiler | Health & Well-being | 23.08.2019 Health+%26amp%3B+Well-being
Dentist laser treatment: The laser is used, for example, for caries or root canal treatment. Photo: Adobe Stock, Robert
Gentle to tissue, painless and sterile – this is how dental problems such as caries, periodontitis or sensitive tooth necks are to be overcome by laser. Sounds fantastic. But does a laser treatment at the dentist deliver what it promises?
What is a dentist laser treatment?
Laser therapies are considered more gentle than conventional treatments and are therefore enjoying increasing popularity in dentistry as well. The dental laser (dentist laser) is used for
- caries treatment
- treatment of periodontitis (inflammation of the periodontium)
- root canal disinfection
- Herpes labialis (cold sores) or aphthae therapy
- Desensitization of temperature- and pain-sensitive dental necks by sealing (closing) open dentine tubuli (fine cavities in the dentin bone)
- Sealing of molars (susceptible to caries)
- Carrying out surgical interventions
However, the dental laser is not suitable for all types of dental treatment. It is not suitable, for example, for processing metal fillings and gold crowns or replacing amalgam fillings.
Advantages of laser treatment by the dentist
The use of the laser in dentistry promises various advantages such as:
1. gentle, low pain treatment
The process is contactless. The extremely short laser pulses generate neither vibrations nor pressure on the treated tooth and, especially with additional cooling, hardly any heat damage.
2. no drilling noises
There are no loud noises from the drill during the laser treatment on the tooth. Instead, you can hear a slight thumping or tingling sensation, according to patients’ experiences.
3. reduction of germs
Laser treatment reduces the number of germs, e.g. bacteria in the gum pockets in periodontitis. This reduces the risk of inflammation after surgery and promotes wound healing. That is why laser is also a method of sterilizing the root canal as part of root canal treatment.
4. treatment in hard-to-reach places
Some places in the denture are more difficult to reach than others. With the laser, the dentist can reach them easily.
The treatment is also suitable for patients who are afraid of the dentist. Photo: Adobe Stock, xerox123
5. Reduced risk of bleeding
Laser treatment of the teeth reduces the risk of bleeding (laser closes blood vessels) and accelerates wound healing. Sutures after surgical procedures (e.g. removal of gum growths, severing into short lip frenulum) are also avoided.
6. Tissue-conserving treatment
The laser treatment of the teeth enables implants to be uncovered without damaging the tissue. Or of tooth edges before the – thus more precise – impression taking of ground teeth for the fabrication of crowns or bridges in order to achieve a better fit.
7. help with fear of the dentist
The treatment eliminates the fearsome noises, pressure and vibration that a drill normally produces. The local anaesthetic injection, which is often necessary, is also omitted when a laser is used.
8. dental treatment for high-risk patients
Risk patients who suffer from coagulation disorders, for example, and pregnant women may also undergo laser dental treatment.
Tooth laser instead of drilling: Is that possible?
The dream of all dental phobics (people who are afraid of dentists/dental treatments), that lasers could completely replace the drill, has not yet been fulfilled. Why? Because a laser only has a very small radius of action and little effect on the tooth, otherwise there would be a significant increase in temperature in the tooth with damage to it.
During treatment, the patient must wear protective goggles – just like with bleaching. Shutterstock, zlikovec
A drill is much faster. With it, larger surfaces can be machined quickly. A laser also leaves a porous surface that must be re-ground with a drill if a smooth surface is required.
Dentist laser treatment: the risks
Laser treatments belong in the hands of a trained dentist. And the patient should wear protective goggles during the laser treatment just like when bleaching the teeth, because the eyes can react sensitively to the bundled light.
Does the health insurance pay for the laser treatment?
The type and extent of the treatment, the equipment used and the dentist decide what has to be paid. However, the statutory health insurances do not usually reimburse the costs. They usually range between 25 € and 150 €.