Laser dentistry treatment: A gentle approach to oral care in Richmond, VA
Many people have become inured to a mistaken idea that discomfort must accompany dental procedures. Be assured, that does not have to be the case. Modern dentistry is continually evolving, with innovative technologies that make treatment more predictable and comfortable. Dr. Oliva Hart is passionate about helping all patients in the Richmond, VA area get the dental care they need and cosmetic enhancements they want, without apprehension. Laser dentistry is one of the ways she ensures efficient, non-traumatic treatment.
What is laser dentistry?
A laser instrument emits a narrow, intense beam of energy created by a wavelength of light. This energy is absorbed to varying degrees based on its target’s color and density, thus shaping, removing, sanitizing, and cauterizing hard or soft tissues. The dental profession began to embrace use of lasers in the 1990s, and equipment and methods have continued to improve. Today laser techniques, alone or in combination with conventional dental instrumentation, encompass a wide range of restorative and cosmetic procedures.
Treatments that can be performed or enhanced with laser techniques
Soft tissue laser therapies:
- Cold and canker sores – Laser therapy reduces discomfort and speeds healing.
- Tenacious gum tissue – Helping partially-erupted molars or wisdom teeth fully emerge.
- Frenotomy – Release of tongue or lip tie attachment.
- Periodontal care – Removal of diseased gum tissue and disinfection of pockets to re-establish healthy seal of gums to teeth.
- Impressions – Removal of excess gum tissue to aid in accurate impressions for crowns, veneers, or other restorations.
- Root cavities – Soft tissue is removed, allowing the dentist to treat decay below the gum line.
- Gummy smile – Gum contouring improves visual proportion of teeth to gums, and shows a symmetrical, rounded arc above each tooth.
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Hard tissue laser treatment:
- Fillings – Dr. Hart uses a laser to prepare a tooth with a cavity to receive a filling, vaporizing decayed structure. Laser energy cures the composite resin filling material, strengthening the bond between tooth and restoration.
- Old restorations – With the exception of amalgam (Dr. Hart follows stringent safety protocols for removal of silver-colored mercury fillings), old dental restorations – composite fillings, crown cement, and residue from orthodontic appliances – is removed efficiently with laser instruments.
- Sealants – The laser cleans pits and grooves in molars and conditions enamel so that sealants perform effectively in reducing risk of cavities.
- Sensitivity – Many people suffer discomfort from dentin hypersensitivity due to gum recession. A brief laser application to the exposed root areas brings lasting relief without harm to pulp.
- Root canals – As a holistic dentist, Dr. Hart does not recommend root canal therapy, which in essence leaves a dead tooth embedded in jawbone. However, in rare cases in which the patient requests this procedure, laser energy sterilizes canals, eliminating bacterial contamination more thoroughly than the use of harsh chemicals.
- Crown contouring – Reshaping bone tissue makes short teeth appear longer and improves the shape of individual teeth.
- Teeth whitening – Laser energy accelerates the whitening process.
Richmond, VA dentist offers gentle laser dentistry treatment
There are many ways laser dentistry is preferable to conventional modalities. Of primary importance, it provides a more relaxed, comfortable treatment experience for the patient. There is no vibration, frictional heat, or sound associated with drilling (the laser makes very little noise). Most laser procedures are painless; thus, injections of anesthetic are often not necessary. The laser automatically cauterizes soft tissue, so there is little or no bleeding. Sutures are rarely required. Superior disinfection prompts speedy healing with minimal swelling. Laser hard tissue procedures are conservative, preserving maximum healthy tooth structure for smaller restoration.
Is laser dentistry safe?
In the hands of a trained, experienced practitioner such as Dr. Hart, laser dental therapy is very safe. It complements holistic principles of utilizing the most benign treatment materials and techniques available to improve and maintain oral health. There is no single laser suitable for multiple dental applications. Dr. Hart has a suite of current generation, FDA-approved laser devices – Nd:YAG, 655 nm diode, CO2, Er,Cr:YSGG, and Er:YAG erbium – ensuring appropriate and safe treatment.
The team at Richmond Family Dentistry cares about your whole health and wellbeing, not just your teeth. Call (804) 381-6238 in Richmond, VA to discover how laser dentistry treatment supports that mission.
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