Laser dentistry refers to any dental procedures that involve the use of a laser. Recent advances in laser technology have allowed dentists to use lasers in many aspects of daily practice. Dr. Matthews was an early adapter of this cutting edge technology, and has raised the standard of care by offering laser technology for fillings, to aid in root canal treatment, healing of cold sores, non surgical treatment of periodontal disease, and many forms of soft tissue surgeries, such as the elimination of "gummy" smiles. In dental laser treatment, a concentrated beam of light is used to energize water to cut teeth(hydrokinetics), instead of a drill. in the case of soft tissues it is used instead of a scalpel. Since there is no heat or vibration, the laser reduces the need for needles and anaesthesia.
Dr. Matthews currently has 10 dental lasers: 3 hard tissue lasers (Waterlase MD, an IPlus, and a Fotona Lightwalker AT), 6 soft tissue(5diodes and an NdYag laser) lasers and a laser to aid in the early detection of caries. She also holds a fellowship and a mastership within the WCLI (World clinical laser institute)
Advantages of Laser Dentistry include:
- Minimal or no anesthesia
- Minimal bleeding
- Reduction of swelling
- Reduced postoperative infection/discomfort
- Reduced time in dentist's office
- Less pain with faster healing time
- No noise (like a traditional dentist's drill)
- Enhance effect of tooth whitening
- No absorption of harmful chemicals
- Improved bonding process
- Quick removal of tooth decay
- Preservation of tooth structure
- A more sterilized environment (dental laser kills bacteria)
- For the treatment of canker sore and herpes lesions, the laser can actually decrease the pain and shorten healing time.
- treatment of muscular and joint pain (TMJ) by low level laser (LLL)
- adjunctive in cleaning of root canals by PIPS (photon induced photo acoustic streaming) to irrigate, decontaminate and reduce biofilm. (for more information: www. PIPSDOCS.com
- adjunctive treatment in periodontal disease to decontaminate and remove diseased tissue from the sulcus of the tooth.
- snorelase: painless snoring reduction by erbium laser to increase airway and therefore decrease snoring
Laser Dentistry Procedures and Effects:
Laser periodontics allows for the treatment of gum disease at any earlier stage. It can be used to treat periodontal disease non surgically by reducing inflammation and pocket depths in conjunction with scaling and root planing. Dr. Matthews uses the laser to perform WPT (wavelength optimized periodontal treatment) in attempt to encourage bone or attachment growth from the bottom of the periodontal pocket up, before more aggressive bone grafting procedures are performed.
Laser Bacterial Reduction (LBR) can be used prior to your hygiene appointment to reduce the bacterial load on your system before cleaning by sterilizing the pockets between the gums and the teeth before root planing and scaling.
The hard tissue lasers ( Lightwalker AT, waterlase MD and IPlus), can also be used to prepare teeth for fillings and crowns in place of the high speed hand piece. In many instances the patient will need no "freezing" or minimal freezing.
Lasers can also be used to stimulate soft tissue healing, and to speed up bleaching as in "laser whitening"
Both types of lasers are effective in speeding up the healing of canker sores and herpetic lesions and can be used to relieve the pain associated with both.
While there is no guarantee of total "sensation free laser dentistry" discomfort is greatly reduced. By receiving dental laser treatments, patients often have no need for anesthetics!
During laser treatment it is common for the patient to wear protective glasses to protect his/her eyes from continued exposure to bright light. The laser emits a tiny ticking noise in the case of a diode laser and a popping noise during fillings, quite different from that of traditional dental drills. However, keep in mind that a laser might not be appropriate for all procedures. Today, many dental services can be performed with either the laser or traditional treatment, and are generally covered by most insurance plans. Dr. Matthews will be able to determine whether or not laser dentistry is right for you.