Our teeth are essential to our comfort for eating and for our appearance and it’s no wonder that we look for ways to maintain and improve on them all the time. Regular brushing and cleaning with floss or small interdental brushes can go a long way to maintaining our oral health and many of us adopt this practice daily with great attention to detail. We are all aware that our diets are also important and eating sugar filled snacks can lead to cavities, so limiting our intake of the offending foods can also go a long way toward helping our teeth remain cavity free.
However, it is sadly the case that no matter how well we brush and how carefully we maintain our teeth, cavities and problems are unfortunately going to be inevitable at one stage or another. We can certainly do what we can to minimise their appearance but there is always the chance that they will appear despite our best efforts.
Dentistry of old was not kind when it came to treating cavities or anything else for that matter. Anaesthetic, both local and general was commonplace and work was carried out using a drill. For those of us who remember, the drill would make a horrendous noise which is one of the reasons why many of us fear dentists today. The drill was extremely invasive and in order to have a cavity treated, large sections of the tooth had to be removed. It would normally have been a case of then filling the tooth with an amalgam material which is now the subject of some controversy.
Contrary to what many people would think, laser dentistry is not new, it made its appearance around 1990 and since that time has continued to develop and offer a kind alternative to a lot of the traditional methods. So, if you were considering having work carried out on your teeth, what would be the pros and cons of laser dental treatment?
- Often when people think of a visit to the dentist, they think of pain. One big advantage of laser dentistry is the lack of pain associated with it. People who use laser dentistry have commented that it is a pain free procedure and continue to use it as their first choice treatment.
- Laser dentistry can do away with the need to have anaesthesia. Having an anaesthetic can in itself be painful and uncomfortable with you having to nurse a numb mouth in the hours following or worse still, recover from the after effects of a general anaesthetic. Not all laser procedures do away with the need for having an anaesthetic, but many will.
- Wounds can heal far faster compared with traditional methods as the laser itself helps in the body in its process of healing.
- It is a healthier procedure as it sterilises the area being worked on and as such kills the bacteria that have the potential to cause the disease.
- There is less bleeding with laser dentistry as the laser provokes the blood into clotting.
- When cavities are drilled, a lot of the tooth has to be taken away but with laser dentistry for cavities, more of the tooth can be preserved as it is a much more targeted procedure. Laser dentistry does not do away with the need for drills altogether and as we have mentioned, there are procedures for which a laser is just not indicated. Methods can also be combined. It is worth however taking advantage of as many of the processes as possible for which a laser can be used.
- There are many uses for the laser in dentistry but not every procedure will be suitable, you would have to make an appointment with the dentist to have your situation assessed. Lasers have the ability to detect cavities at a very early stage so that immediate corrective action can be taken which obviously has the potential to save you a great deal of difficult work down the line. It is not all cavities however that can be treated with the laser.
- Procedures of the soft tissue can be treated with a laser. Folds in the skin can be corrected and problems in the gum area can be attended to as well.
- The laser has multiple uses and you can discuss other options with your dentist.
A question asked by many, relates to their insurance and whether or not they would be able to have laser dentistry and still have their insurance pay for the procedure. It is of course essential that you check the contents of your policy but normally a dental policy would not make a stipulation on how the work was to be carried out and so if your policy covers the problem, you can usually choose which method you would want to use to have it treated. So, im most cases, having laser treatment would be no different compared with using a drill.
As with any procedure, its success and failure is largely going to be dependent on the skill of the person carrying out the task and laser dentistry is no different. Performed poorly, it can have a negative impact on the surrounding tissue, so it is essential that you carry out proper research to find yourself a dentist with the proper credentials and experience in this area. You could check to see how long the dentist has been in business, usually the dentist that you approach will be local and so it should be easy to obtain some feedback from neighbours and friends.
A reputable dental practice will be only too willing to speak with you to explain their procedures and help you with your decision. You may even be able to have a consultation to discuss your needs and put a forward plan of action in place for yourself.
Laser treatment need not be expensive and often is similar to the cost of traditional dentistry, with less of the side effects, pain and problems.