The term LASER stands for light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation. It is an instrument which emits light energy in a very narrow and focused beam. The laser light hits the tissue surface and aids in the removal or reshaping of the tissue. (1)
Laser dentistry is a comfortable treatment option in various dental procedures involving hard and soft tissue. Some of the standard dental procedures that use laser are –
- Root canal treatments
- Treating hypersensitivity of tooth
- Disinfection of cavities
- Treating gum disease
- Tooth whitening
The Food and Drug Administration has approved laser dentistry as a more efficient, cost-effective, and comfortable treatment choice as compared to drilling. High tech lasers are commonly used in cavity preparation. However, recent advances have shown the use of lasers in eliminating bacteria from root canals. With the development of small-sized flexible fiber tips, lasers can be used effectively in root canal treatments. (2)
Role of lasers in Root canal treatment
Laser root canal disinfection uses a parallel beam of high-intensity light. This light allows efficient cleaning and elimination of bacteria from the root canals. Conventional methods of cleaning and shaping a root canal often leave out bacteria in the pours of root canal walls. However, advanced laser technology can altogether remove and kill the bacteria, making the canal sterile and infection-free.
- Also read: Should You Go for Laser Teeth Whitening?
At a microscopic level, the high-intensity laser light melts away the infectious tissue containing bacteria. This layer is often referred to as the ‘smear layer’ of the root. With less pain and time, laser therapy plays an essential role in increasing the success rate of root canal treatments. (3)
A research study conducted at Vienna dental school revealed that laser irradiation using erbium, chromium: yttrium-scandium-gallium-garnet (Er, Cr: YSGG) laser reduced the amount of E.coli bacteria below the detection level. (4) In addition to bacterial elimination, laser therapy has also been effective in post root canal treatment. It significantly reduces the amount of inflammation, swelling, and discomfort often felt as the anesthesia wears off.
The American Dental Association further concluded that the Er, Cr: YSGG laser may be suitable for cleaning and disinfection of the root canal. Additionally, it stated that this laser could be used safely if the standard precautions for using laser are followed with proper energy levels and irradiation times.
To find a qualified dental professional for laser treatment, look for a dentist who has taken educational courses, and received appropriate clinical training. Your insurance providers can also recommend the best dental professionals in your locality.