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Mary Ann Hanlon, DDS, MS
Practice Limited to Periodontics

Laser Dentistry

In recent years, lasers have gained popularity in periodontal therapy. This technology can be used to perform a wide variety of treatments, including soft tissue shaping and removal.

The FDA deemed laser dentistry safe for public use in 1990.  Since then, many periodontists have incorporated dental lasers into everyday procedures, reducing bleeding, anxiety and post-treatment recovery times.  

Here are some of the benefits associated with laser  assisted periodontal therapy:

  • Faster healing;
  • Reduced bleeding during and after treatment;
  • Reduced need for anesthesia;
  • Reduced need for sutures;
  • Reduced risk of bacterial infections after procedures;

How can lasers help me with my periodontal treatment?

Laser dentistry is incredibly versatile and plays an important role in a growing number of common periodontal procedures.  Though laser dentistry is most notably associated with cosmetic treatments, it is equally effective for preventative purposes.

Here are some of the ways that dental lasers can be used in periodontal therapy:

  • Reshaping soft tissue – Dental lasers can dissolve soft tissue to expose more of the natural tooth (crown lengthening), reshape soft tissue to make “gummy smiles” more attractive, and remove uncomfortable soft tissue folds caused by denture wear.
  • Frenectomy – Lasers can improve speech and the feeding habits of babies, children and adults by untying the tongue.
  • Tumor removal – When benign tumors have formed in the soft tissue areas of the mouth, a dental laser can remove them.
  • Biopsy – Lasers are sometimes used to perform a biopsy on suspicious areas of soft tissue.  This biopsy procedure can be performed instantly and with great precision.

How are laser procedures performed?

Different types of dental laser have been created to treat different conditions.  Each laser uses a different wavelength of light, which predicates its best use.  The most common types of dental laser are carbon dioxide lasers and diode lasers, which are usually employed to treat soft tissue problems.  The periodontist will decide which type of laser is best to use after completing X-rays and a thorough examination.

The laser beam is extremely bright, and special glasses will be provided to protect the eyes.  The dentist will then direct the beam at the affected area and carefully treat the soft tissue.

Laser assisted procedures take less time than conventional methods, and cause far less anxiety.  The only real disadvantage of laser dentistry is that it can prove to be more expensive.

If you have questions or concerns about laser dentistry, please ask your periodontist or dentist.

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