Dental patients wanting to repair diseased gums or alter tooth structure are increasingly choosing to face the laser rather than the drill. With traditional dental drilling, comes pain, the need for anesthesia, copious bleeding and often the need for stitches. Laser dentistry avoids all these undesirable side effects by using precise, localized radiation to remove diseased parts of the oral cavity while requiring few stitches and often no sedation, according to the dentists at the University Of Texas School Of Dentistry. In addition to surgery, laser dentistry is also used cosmetically to bleach teeth to a whiter color.

Laser dentistry works by using quiet, non-vibrating instruments that direct bright lights containing low levels of electromagnetic radiation to dental areas needing repair or restoration. Low-powered dental laser tools direct cool, concentrated light from the red end of the light spectrum at the target area of operation in a careful, straight line. This light penetrates the surface of the bone or gum tissue without causing harm. It then is directed to small tears and pockets of bacteria and decay by surgeons wielding the laser tool. Generally, air suction is used simultaneously to keep the month dry and free of debris.

The reason dental lasers are able to promote healing in decaying dental tissue is because all cells in the human body have membranes with photo acceptor sites; these photo acceptor sites get stimulated in the oral cavity when hit with photons from dental lasers This causes oral cells to proliferate, generating new, healthy cells to replace unhealthy ones that are killed by laser. This stimulation, which results in a greater production of proteins and enzymes in the oral cavity, also boosts the immune system and encourages the release endorphins, which buffer pain and help recovery.

Benefits of laser dentistry go beyond pain-free dental treatments that require less post-operative healing. Laser dentistry also benefits patients by being quicker and more accurate than conventional dental surgery and techniques. Another benefit is that lasers can render the enamel of a tooth resistant to corrosion by acids; this is a unique side effect that conventional practices cannot rival. Also, for many treatments, laser methods are less expensive. Evolving technology has resulted in smaller and more portable laser instruments that dentists can handle with greater efficiency. Many patients report greater satisfaction with the quality of results from laser dentistry compared to traditional dentistry.

There are some caveats for patients considering laser dentistry. Lasers can be very destructive when misdirected and can cause blindness. For this reason, patients must wear goggles when having dental work involving lasers, no matter how weak the lasers are. It may also behoove patients to investigate the experience a surgeon has in using laser technology.

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