Cavities can be frustrating, and sometimes, there’s no way to prevent them. They’ll happen no matter how often you brush and floss.
Unfortunately, cavities are often painful and really shouldn’t be ignored. They need to be treated and fixed if your mouth is going to stay healthy.
Laser dentistry has been stepping up to the call and providing a much less painful way to fix cavities.
We’re going to be breaking down some facts and explaining how effective laser cavity removal is.
How Cavities Are Traditionally Treated
A cavity, in short, is tooth decay. That’s why it’s so important to have them treated. If you don’t treat cavities, they will likely spread, and your teeth will continue to decay.
Before a cavity can be treated, it must be located. A dentist can identify a cavity in a few different ways. They can ask if you have any pain or sensitive spots, examine and visually inspect your mouth and teeth, probe your teeth to look for soft spots, or use X-rays to see how deep the cavity might be.
After the cavity is located, it moves into the different stages of treatment options.
- Fluoride is the first line of defense against cavities and can be used to help restrengthen teeth if the cavity is identified in the very early stages.
- Fillings are the next and most common treatment that people receive. Fillings are composed of different materials and essentially fill the hole that decay has created.
- Crowns like the name implies, are custom-sized caps that replace the natural crown on your teeth. The decay is drilled away, and then the crown is made using strong materials like that of fillings.
- Root canals are the last line of defense. In the case of a root canal, the decay has reached down into the root or pulp of your teeth. If there is an infection, you’ll be given medication, and then the tooth that has been drilled out will be replaced with a filling.
Finally, if the damage is too extensive, the tooth will be removed, and you’ll be given the option to replace it with a fake tooth.
The Background of Dentistry
Since the beginning of time, people’s mouths have bothered them, and when there’s a need, there’s always someone who tries to fill it. One of the first known dentists was from 2600 B.C.
Things have changed since then. Today, going to the dentist is as normal as a yearly doctor’s visit. It’s normal and accepted by society.
One thing that has recently developed is laser dentistry. This technology isn’t yet widely used but has left people with a great experience everywhere that it is used. The first exploration of laser dentistry came in the 1960s after the development of a ruby laser. But this laser was still a little too harsh to use for oral applications. But in the 1990s, laser dentistry became a bit more mainstream. Now nearly 10% of all dentists utilize laser technology in their practice.
When the average dentist appointment moves past the cleaning stage, what happens? What’s the science behind it, and how does laser dentistry handle it differently?
Laser Treatment Options
One of the most frustrating things about getting a cavity repaired is the drill. Everyone dreads the dentist’s drill. It might even be something that’s used in horror movies. While the shots and the drills are the worst part of getting your cavity filled, it makes for the most impressive part of using a laser treatment.
With laser treatment, there are no shots and no drills. Better yet, lasers are more precise than drills meaning that more of the healthy tooth is saved.
Because anesthesia, among other things, isn’t needed during the laser treatment, it’s more cost-effective, virtually painless, and much faster.
This makes laser dentistry very effective and attractive in many ways.
Side Effects of Using Lasers
Many people think there are side effects to using lasers for dentist treatment. While there definitely are side effects, they are almost all positive and not negative. In fact, lasers are safer than traditional dentistry.
We recently published a blog post talking about the side effects of using lasers for dentistry. Some of those side effects include:
- Possible damage to tooth pulp
- Gum injury risk
Surprisingly there are many more side effects to traditional dentistry such as long-lasting effects of novocaine, bleeding gums, and pain sensation.
Does Laser Dentistry Hurt?
Short answer: no. Laser dentistry is highly popular because it is nearly painless. Patients who experience anxiety or are afraid of needles during standard dental procedures should definitely shift to laser dentistry. The majority of patients who get decay removed via laser don’t even require any sort of anesthetic, particularly everyone’s favorite, novocaine shot into the gums.
Is Laser Dentistry Effective On All Cavities?
Lasers are ideal for cavities that are more shallow and are a simple case. More complex procedures or deeper cavities may not be an ideal candidate for such a procedure. However, a hybrid approach using both laser and standard dentistry can be the perfect solution to create a cleaner cut and a far less painful procedure overall.
Reasons Why You “Shouldn’t” Choose Laser Dentistry
You’d be hard-pressed to find reasons not to use laser dentistry. It seems easier to find reasons why you shouldn’t go to the dentist at all.
- One of the main reasons you might not choose laser dentistry is if you enjoy spending more time at the dentist sitting in those comfortable reclining chairs.
- Another reason is if you look forward to the feeling of Novocain on your tongue for what seems like days.
Of course, these aren’t legitimate reasons. But if you’re considering laser dentistry, then we’d encourage you to give it a try. It’s safe, reliable, and considered to be one of the greatest advances in dental technology.
Find a Local Laser Dentistry Provider
Laser dentistry has been an incredible tool for numerous patients. Whether you need a cavity treated, wisdom teeth removed, or just a regular check-up, consider Wayzata Dental for your next dental treatment. Book an appointment today!