When I first started practicing dentistry in the early 1980s, dental lasers were still practically science fiction. Sure, ophthalmologists and dermatologists started using medical lasers for soft-tissue surgeries as early as 1961, not long after laser technology was invented. But even 20 years later, the idea that a laser could safely cut through hard tissues like tooth and bone still seemed a long way off. It wasn't.
It's been more than 10 years since I first started using hard- and soft-tissue dental lasers in my practice. During that time, I have seen the technology increase by leaps and bounds in effectiveness, safety, healing benefits, and clinical applications. Today, dental lasers are part of nearly every procedure I perform. But I don't use lasers because they are cool; I use them because laser treatment is simply better than traditional techniques for many dental procedures.
Lasers are more precise and less traumatic to the body than a drill. They effectively decrease pathogenic bacterial colonies, allowing the immune system a much better chance in the fight against infection. Hard-tissue lasers create better bonding surfaces than chemical etchants alone, creating stronger, longer-lasting fillings. And laser-assisted extractions and periodontal treatments have shown remarkable improvements in the regrowth of healthy hard and soft tissue after treatment has been completed.
Even with all those benefits and advancements, though, dental lasers still have a long way to go before they replace the drill entirely. In the meantime, laser-assisted procedures allow us to significantly reduce overall drilling time for most procedures, improve healing, use less anesthetic, and offer a better patient experience overall.
If you have questions about laser dentistry, or how we might use lasers for a specific treatment you are considering, please do not hesitate to call the office or ask at your next appointment. You can also learn more about laser dentistry by reading our Laser Dentistry treatment and services page.