Since 1994, lasers have been used in dentistry to treat a number of dental problems. Yet, despite FDA approval, no self-respected laser system has received the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Seal of Acceptance as an alternative to more traditional treatment. That significant seal assures dentists that the product or device meets ADA standards of safety and efficacy, among other things. The ADA, however, has stated that it is cautiously optimistic about the role of laser technology in the field of dentistry as it progresses.
Still, some dentists are using lasers to remove the decay within a tooth and prepare the surrounding enamel for receipt of the filling. Lasers are also used to reshape gums and remove bacteria during root canal procedures. Lasers can be used to remove a small piece of tissue (called a biopsy) so that it can be examined further for cancer. And finally, lasers are even used to significantly speed up in-office teeth whitening procedures. A peroxide bleaching solution, applied to the tooth surface, is ‘activated by the laser used in the procedure and speeds up the whitening process.
All lasers work is by delivering energy in the form of light. When lasers are used for surgical and dental procedures, it acts as a cutting instrument or a vaporizer of tissue that it comes in contact with. When used in teeth whitening procedures, the laser acts as a heat source and enhances the effect of tooth-bleaching agents and they become activated.
Laser dentistry may cause less pain in some instances, so reduces the need for anesthesia and it may also preserve a healthier tooth during cavity removal. However, Lasers can’t be used on teeth with fillings already in place and tend to be more expensive procedures. Everything has it’s pros and cons, but ultimately leave it to your dentist to suggest whether or not laser dentistry is right for you.