Oral health at the speed of light with laser dental care in Richmond, VA
Once, lasers were the stuff of science fiction movies and advanced engineering labs. Today lasers are common in everyday life, from desktop printers to barcode scanners at retail stores and light shows at entertainment venues. Laser technology has revolutionized dental care, too. Dr. Olivia Hart is pleased to bring the advantages of this leading-edge level of care to patients in the Richmond, VA area.
Many types of lasers for dental treatments
A laser produces light in a single color (monochromatic) with each wave in identical size and shape (coherent). The color and coherent generated depends on materials at the core of the device – gas, crystal, or semiconductor. Each wavelength of light is absorbed at a different rate by body tissues. Some are attracted to blood and pigments in soft tissues, while water or hard tissues absorb others.
Dr. Hart uses these lasers to perform comfortable, effective dental procedures:
- Nd:YAG – Excellent for elimination of pathogens (without using harsh chemicals), and to treat inflammatory conditions.
- 655 nm diode – For detection of tooth decay, even at a minute level.
- CO2 or carbon dioxide – Reacts with water molecules destroying the cellular structure of pathogens.
- Er,Cr:YSGG and Er:YAG erbium – Good absorption by apatite crystals in bone, enamel, and dentin, and water in soft tissues.
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Soft tissue procedures
Gum disease is initially easy to ignore but is a serious health condition. It places a tremendous strain on your immune system, fighting inflammation and infection 24/7, and flooding the body with toxins. Historically, gum disease was treated with mechanical processes. Bacterial plaque and hardened tartar was scraped from crown and root surfaces with metal instruments. Pockets around teeth were sanitized with disinfectant, diseased tissue was surgically cut away, and gums were stitched to improve their seal to teeth. With laser dentistry, the procedure is quicker and less invasive. Discomfort and bleeding are minimal, and healing is faster.
A soft tissue laser can also be used to remove cysts or lesions, and to relieve canker sore pain.
Hard tissue procedures
A fluorescent laser device illuminates dental caries. This diagnostic method reveals very small cavities and those between teeth that cannot be seen through visual inspection and may not show up on an x-ray.
Dr. Hart uses a hard tissue laser to gently remove areas of decay, without drilling. Laser cavity preparation is precise. Since dental caries have higher water content, the laser selectively targets this tissue. That means minimal healthy tooth structure is compromised. Plus, there is reduced risk of pulp trauma or micro-fractures without the noise, heat, and vibration generated by a dental drill.
While zirconia implants are generally recommended over root canal therapy, root canals can be sanitized more effectively with laser energy than with chemical disinfectants.
Laser dentistry isn’t just for clinical conditions. Dr. Hart re-shapes “gummy” smiles with a soft tissue laser, improving proportion of teeth to gums. Teeth with jagged edges or an unusual shape can be recontoured with a hard tissue laser. A dental laser can be used to accelerate in-office teeth whitening.
Benefits of laser dentistry
Laser treatment is not appropriate for every patient or procedure. For example, a tooth with a filling in place should not be treated with a laser, and conventional methods may be necessary for crown preparation or bite adjustment.
You can rely on Dr. Hart’s experience and commitment to your wellbeing to guide your dental healthcare. When laser dentistry is the best choice, you enjoy these benefits:
- Often no anesthesia (and thus, no injection) is needed.
- It is precise. In some situations, tissue can be removed a few cell layers at a time.
- Drug-free laser treatment is safe for pregnant women and children.
- There is reduced post-procedure discomfort, bleeding, and swelling because nerves and blood vessels are sealed during treatment.
The first dental laser was introduced in 1989. Since that time, laser dentistry has continued to evolve with an increasing number of devices and clinical applications. Dr. Hart maintains a commitment to continuing education and investment in current technologies to bring the highest level of holistic care to her patients.
Would you like to learn more about integrating laser dental care into your strategy for oral health and whole-body wellness? Call Richmond Family Dentistry in Richmond, VA at (804) 381-6238 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hart.
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