Laser therapy is a relatively new innovation that is currently being used across a number of medical and cosmetic surgery fields including optometry, dermatology, pain management, and beauty therapy. Although laser therapy has been used in dentistry since 1994, it is only more recently that this innovative approach to dental treatment has really gained momentum.
Despite being approved by the FDA, there hasn't been any laser system that has received the American Dental Association’s (ADA’s) Seal of Acceptance as an alternative to mainstream treatment. However, many dentists are using laser therapy very successfully to treat a variety of dental issues.
By far the most common dental procedure that uses laser technology is cosmetic teeth whitening. Teeth whitening is the number one cosmetic dental procedure in the U.S. because it is a quick and painless method of correcting discolored teeth that provides patients with a significantly brighter smile.
This can give the wearer increased confidence in personal, professional, and social situations. In fact, many people believe that a great smile can seriously influence your success in life.
One of the biggest benefits of laser teeth whitening is the speed with which you can both have the procedure done and see the results. Typically, you can expect a laser teeth whitening session to be completed in under 90 minutes which makes it easy to fit into most schedules. Better still, the majority of patients find that one treatment is enough to significantly brighten their teeth for a period of time. That said, no whitening treatment lasts forever.
The length of time you can expect your teeth to maintain their whiteness will depend on several factors including your oral healthcare routine, the use of complimentary whitening products such as toothpaste and mouthwash with whitening ingredients, and how willing you are to try and avoid food and drink that are likely to cause stainings, such as coffee and red wine. Many patients who choose laser teeth whitening schedule annual or bi-annual treatments in order to keep up the appearance of their smile.
Laser teeth whitening is considered a cosmetic treatment and as such, very few dental insurance policies will cover this procedure. However, many dentists offer affordable payment plans that may be of assistance to you.
The exact price that you will pay will vary depending on your dentist and the extent of the discoloration of your teeth, but you can expect to pay around $1,000 for the procedure.
Laser dentistry can also be a highly effective method of performing many other dental procedures including detecting and filling cavities, dealing with tooth sensitivity, crown lengthening, reshaping gum tissue, and temporomandibular joint treatment.
There are a number of benefits of performing these procedures using laser therapy including:
Procedures performed using soft tissue dental lasers may not require sutures.
Damage to the surrounding tissue is minimal. Some procedures may not even require an anesthetic.
Bleeding is minimized as the laser encourages blood clotting to take place.
Wounds heal faster and tissue can be regenerated quickly. The risk of bacterial infection is also minimized as the laser helps to sterilize the area while it's being worked on.
Laser dental treatments are particularly popular among anxious or nervous patients since it is less invasive than more traditional methods and often much quieter and subtler. If you would like to consider having a dental procedure performed using laser therapy, please contact your dentist who will be happy to advise you further.