The Use of Soft Tissue Diode Lasers in Dental Hygiene – Part One

What is a laser and how does it work?

A laser is a device that emits a very narrow, intense beam of light energy. When a laser comes in to contact with tissue, it causes a reaction. The light produced by this laser can remove or shape tissue. Lasers can be implemented as a safe and effective treatment for a wide range of dental procedures, and are often used in conjunction with other dental instruments. Soft Tissue Diode Lasers can be used in conjunction with regular dental hygiene treatment to help fight gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease). There are three major applications of STDL’s in the dental hygiene field:

  • Laser Bacterial Reduction
  • Laser Assisted Periodontal Therapy
  • Desensitization Therapy

 How can I be sure my dentist is properly trained to use a laser? Make sure you ask your dentist if he or she has received laser education and training. Check that your dentist has participated in the necessary educational courses and received training when recommended by the manufacturers. Many dental schools, and dental associations offer dental laser education. Also, be sure to enquire as to what your dentist’s independent source for current dental laser education and credentialing is. Are dental lasers safe? If a trained practitioner uses a dental laser appropriately, and in accordance with accepted practices, then it is at least as safe as other dental instruments. However, when your dentist performs a laser procedure, you will be asked to wear special eyeglasses to protect your eyes from the laser. Although the laser is a very useful dental instrument, it is not appropriate for every dental procedure. How are lasers used in dentistry? Dental lasers can be used to:

  • Reduce the discomfort of canker and cold sores.
  • Expose partially erupted wisdom teeth.
  • Remove muscle attachments that limit proper movement.
  • Manage gum tissue during impressions for crowns or other procedures.
  • Remove overgrown tissues caused by certain medications.
  • Perform biopsy procedures.
  • Remove inflamed gum tissues and aid in the treatment of gum disease.
  • Remove or reshape gum and bone tissues during crown procedures.
  • Help treat infections in root canals.
  • Speed up tooth whitening procedures.

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