Lasers continue to show very amazing and even more promising results in many fields of medicine and dentistry – including in the future of orthodontics. They are constantly being developed further and have already gained wide usage in dental offices across America. Their use has significantly improved results in many orthodontic functions and much more can be expected in the near future.
Lasers now come in many types, power output, and usage. The usage is determined by its power range and it can either be used on soft or hard tissue. The light beam is generally delivered through fiber-optic cables, hand-held devices, and articulated arms.
Benefits of Lasers in Dentistry
Lasers have already proven useful in many dental applications. Surgery using lasers almost always use topical or light anesthesia because of very little pain. Overall, their benefits in orthodontic techniques are wide-ranging, and may include the following:
- Reduced pain or even pain-free surgery
- Improved healing rates
- Nearly bloodless surgery
- No stitching necessary (in most surgeries)
- Non-invasive surgery (it does not require a scalpel or sutures)
- Reduces the amount of tissue that needs to be removed
- Minimizes infections and pain after surgery.
When it comes to dentistry, an orthodontist is a dentist who has much more education and training than a general dentist. After getting their dentist degree, the candidate will enter a residency program. This program involves another two or three years of training under trained orthodontists.
Orthodontic training involves diagnosing teeth alignment, overbites, misaligned teeth and jaws, crowded teeth, and more. They also help realign teeth by using braces, Invisalign, and other devices to correct teeth and facial irregularities.
The future outlook for orthodontists is strong since people will always have dental issues of this type.
The Current and Future of Orthodontics Laser Usage
Lasers are already used in dental offices in multiple ways. Patients may find that their orthodontist may offer laser treatment for the following purposes:
- Soft-tissue Applications
Lasers are exceptional in their ability to cut through soft-tissue. This feature is useful in many applications. It minimizes blood loss because it cauterizes the blood vessels as it cuts and seals the blood vessels at the same time. At the same time, it also destroys the nerve tissue. This is what makes it painless, or nearly painless.
- Gum Contouring
Gums will sometimes experience overgrowth or grow unevenly. This may also be the result of an injury to the gums or teeth. An orthodontist can make their gums and smile more attractive by using a laser to trim or reshape the gums. Because the procedure does not involve cutting with a scalpel, there is little blood loss and healing is faster.
- Reduction of Pain
Lasers are not only used to perform some orthodontic surgeries with a minimal amount of pain, but low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is also used to reduce pain. This has been found beneficial after first applying the braces and after tightening them.
- Enamel Etching
Instead of using acid to etch teeth before bonding braces on them, a laser can be used. The laser causes micro explosions on the tooth surface because of water in the enamel. The heat from the laser may also change the surface by melting some of the crystals. The result is that it will have a similar result as acid etching, but lasers are considered to be a safer method than acid etching.
- Reduction of Enamel Decalcification
After braces have been bonded to the teeth, it can sometimes lead to a decalcification of the enamel or white lesions may form. Some studies have revealed that applying lasers to the teeth before the braces are bonded to them leads to a change in the structure of the crystals in the teeth. The change reduces the effect of demineralization by 29 percent.
Laser studies revealed that other traditional orthodontic techniques of etching, including pumiced and pumiced-etched enamel, did not have any effect in reducing decalcification. Adding fluoride treatments before the placing of the braces showed additional benefits.
- Removing Ceramic Brackets
Once ceramic brackets started being used for braces, it was discovered that removing them can damage the tooth enamel. The brackets themselves can break while removing them and it can also be painful for the patient.
Lasers have been used with a greater level of safety for the patient. It softens the adhesive and makes removing the bracket much easier. It is also quick, taking only a few seconds of laser light exposure on each bracket.
- Lasers for Light Curing
Various dental procedures require the application of bonding material. It can be used to bond braces onto teeth, or it is used in dental fillings or to apply dental veneers. The laser for this purpose typically operates in the blue and green light range. It activates the adhesive or the composite resin and hardens it.
- Accelerate Tooth Movement
Lasers can be applied to teeth immediately after they are tightened. Recent advances in orthodontics have revealed that when applied at various intervals, laser light exposure has been found to notably accelerate tooth movement and bone growth. This reduces the overall treatment period, giving patients the desired results in less time – and it works for traditional braces and the Invisalign system.
Other Uses of Lasers in Dentistry
In addition to the uses of lasers in orthodontics, they also have many other uses for general dentists. Dentists may use them for:
When gum tissue needs to be removed for aesthetic or other purposes, a laser is often used to accomplish this task. It quickly removes gum tissue to expose more of the tooth, or the roots of the tooth to perform tasks such as placing a filling or a new crown.
Lasers are often used in periodontist’s offices for removing periodontal disease in the gum pockets. Placing the fiber optic in the gum pockets with low-level laser light will destroy the bacteria causing periodontitis. After removing the bacteria and inflammation, the periodontist also uses the laser to seal the gums against the teeth – a process that requires no stitches. Because lasers are color selective, they will only destroy harmful bacteria and leave healthy tissue untouched. This also aids in healing because it destroys potentially harmful bacteria near the site.
After the bleaching gel has been applied, low-intensity lasers are used to activate the chemicals. This enables dentists to whiten teeth up to five or six shades whiter in one visit.
Reduce Pain from TMJ
Lasers can also be used to reduce the pain after a dental procedure in which the patient’s jaws had to be kept open for prolonged periods. When using low-level laser light it helps to regenerate nerves and blood vessels that have been damaged, as well as reducing inflammation and pain.
Removing Bacteria from Dental Implants
Dental implants can develop bacteria around them that will destroy bone tissue. This problem is called peri-implantitis and it can lead to implant failure. Lasers are now used in some offices to destroy the bacteria around the implants to prevent this problem.
Removing Aphthous Ulcers
Aphthous ulcers can be painful for anyone who gets them. A laser can be used to destroy the ulcer, enabling fresh tissue to replace it and give the patient faster healing.
Future Outlook for Orthodontists
The increased usage of lasers in the field guarantees that there is a strong future of orthodontics specialty. Lasers continue to make some of the daily tasks of orthodontists easier and faster and this also makes the regular orthodontic services even more attractive to young and old alike.
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Braces Yourself! Is the Future of Orthodontics Lasers?