It is not uncommon for adults and children alike to fear trips to the dentist. The sound of a dental drill is enough to send many people into a panic. Fortunately, dentistry is an ever-evolving field, and technological advances are continually improving the experience of visiting the dentist.
Two of the most promising dental technologies in use today are the hard tissue laser and the soft tissue laser. Lasers are devices that produce concentrated beams of monochromatic light. These beams can be strong enough to cut through a wide range of matter. Lasers are being used across the field of medicine to perform tasks previously performed by surgical cutting implements such as scalpels.
The hard tissue laser, as the name implies, is used on hard tissues. In dentistry, this type of laser can be used on teeth in place of the traditional dental drill. The hard tissue laser is often much less painful than the traditional approach, which leads to a decrease in the need for anesthetics. Hard tissue lasers also create an ideal bonding surface in preparation for new fillings. Perhaps the biggest advantage of hard tissue lasers is that they possess none of the negative associations that many patients have towards dental drills. Furthermore, procedures carried out with hard tissue lasers often take less time to perform than procedures carried out with older techniques.
The soft tissue laser works on soft tissues such as the gums. In treating advanced periodontal disease, the soft tissue laser provides a minimally invasive alternative to older surgical approaches. Soft tissue lasers can cut diseased tissue away with much less bleeding than other techniques. The soft tissue laser also helps prevent infection because the laser beam disinfects the areas it touches. When dentists employ soft tissue lasers they need to give their patients much less anesthetic. In some cases, no anesthetic at all is required.