Laser Dentistry Guide – What It Is, How It Works, and Benefits

BY Dr. McDowell  |  April 30th, 2021
Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..

Laser dentistry is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Yes, you heard that right! The best part is that it’s not just us that think that; our patients do too. Wayzata Dental has been offering laser dentistry for quite a while now, and our customers have loved the new approach to dentistry and all of the benefits that come along with it.

In today’s guide, we’re giving you everything from basic, “what it is” to more complex, “how it works,” type answers to the questions we commonly receive. We want you to feel confident in choosing laser dentistry and maybe even excited to visit the dentist again.

What Is Laser Dentistry?

Dentist chair with tools in view

You may not have heard of laser dentistry yet, but it has been practiced throughout many places for more than 10 years, and it’s definitely one of the next big things in dentistry. In fact, laser dentistry is predicted to be one of the most widely used dental practices in the future.

What it is, however, can sometimes be slightly more complicated. To start, there are several different types of lasers that have been developed for dentistry. Some are more common than others, and some have been approved by the FDA, while others may still be in the approval process. It’s important to remember that even if the FDA hasn’t approved something, that doesn’t mean that it’s unsafe. The FDA can sometimes take more than 10 years to approve an application because of how many different applications are submitted at a time.

The lasers that we use at Wayzata dental are CO2-based. With a CO2 laser, highly compressed air is focused into a tiny laser that’s powerful enough to remove plaque on your teeth and be directed by the careful hand of your dentist. These lasers will remove the need for most drills and metal tools so that there doesn’t need to be any scraping or drilling in your mouth during your next dental appointment.

How Does Laser Dentistry Work?

We already established several different types of lasers used, but there are two overarching subcategories among all those types. These two categories are hard tissue lasers and soft tissue lasers. Hard tissue lasers are for, as the name implies, harder tissue, while soft tissue lasers will be used more commonly for teeth cleanings and work on gums.

Lasers can replace the need for almost all traditional dental tools. The focused laser can be used to treat gum lines, cavities, kill bacteria, remove plaque, and more. In many dental offices, traditional tools are only used for major operations because lasers work better and provide a better experience for patients.

What Procedures can be Performed with Laser Dentistry?

two dentists deep cleaning teeth of a patient.

In many cases, almost all procedures, from teeth cleanings to fillings, can be performed with the help of laser dental tools. Here are some of the operations or procedures that are regularly performed with dental lasers.

Finding and Treating Tooth Decay

Lasers help dentists be more thorough in their search for tooth decay in your mouth. When exposed to a dental laser, tooth decay will glow and appear different than the rest of the tooth. This is true even in the earliest stages of tooth decay. To preserve as much of the tooth as possible while still removing the decay, a dentist can focus the laser on the decay and get it out or off of your tooth.

The best part about this procedure is that you won’t feel a thing, and there is no need for Novocaine. Additionally, the laser is precise enough that it doesn’t affect the tooth’s structure and only removes the decay.

Treating Cold Sores

If you’re prone to cold sores and get them often, then you can probably tell when a cold sore is coming on. While they don’t really “hurt,” they can be extremely uncomfortable, and no one wants to be sporting a cold sore. A quick laser dental treatment can help to quickly remove a cold sore before it fully develops.

Gum Disease Treatment

If you’ve ever suffered from gum disease, then you know that it can be extremely painful and difficult to cure. Traditional dental treatment for gum disease would include the use of scalpels to remove gum tissue by cutting it away. But, with laser dentistry, this “cutting away” process isn’t needed, and you won’t need any stitches either.

Lasers can be used in the hands of a trained dentist to vaporize the diseased tissues and cauterize them while doing so. The laser will also sterilize the tissue and kill any germs, which greatly reduces the chance of infection.

Improving Gummy Smiles

Some patients are bothered by gummy smiles and feel that the excess gum tissue shouldn’t be so easy to see when they smile. But, without laser dentistry, they would need to go under a knife to fix this problem. Thankfully a laser can quickly and easily remove excess gum tissue, improving their smile almost immediately.

Tooth Whitening

Last on this list is tooth whitening. Lasers combined with the use of tooth whitening agents will allow the dental professional to quickly and easily whiten teeth safely and effectively.

Which Patients Can Receive Laser Dental Treatments?

We often receive this question at our dental office, and we’re always excited to answer. Anyone can receive laser dental treatments from kids to adults. The many benefits of using lasers in dental treatments shouldn’t be limited to just a specific age. Because these treatments are, in many ways, much safer than traditional dental treatments, there isn’t a reason not to include everyone.

Laser density is also safe for those who have pacemakers or other similar devices—no need to fear that something may go poorly. If you’re still worried about whether or not laser dentistry is right for you, simply reach out to us through our website, and we’ll gladly answer your questions.

Laser Dentistry for Kids

laser dentistry for kids

A lot of kids tend to fear the dentist and for a good reason. Even some adults struggle with a bit of dentophobia or dental fear at times. Most of the fears that people have about the dentist are because of the pain they assume they’ll have to endure to get their teeth cleaned or treated. Thanks to our good friend, the dental laser, we’re able to offer a pain-free experience.

Kids will love laser dentistry because it’s fast, effective, pain-free, and cool. We can tell them all about how the lasers work and what they do to your teeth. What parent would like to have a science lesson at the dentist for their child?


Here are some of the frequently asked questions regarding laser dentistry and its benefits. If you have more questions, you can contact us via our website.

Is Laser Dentistry better?

Whether or not laser dentistry is truly better will be a matter of opinion for most people. But, for those that experience laser dentistry at its finest, there’s no question. Laser dentistry allows us to provide faster procedures, almost no use of anesthetics or Novocaine, and a pain-free experience. You decide, do those benefits make laser dentistry better? We sure think so!

How much does laser dentistry cost?

You might be thinking, what’s the catch? But there actually isn’t one! The cost associated with laser dentistry is very similar to traditional dentistry, and in some cases, it’s actually much cheaper. Because the operations can be performed in less time and because there isn’t the need for stitches or Novocaine, that also helps save money.

Is laser treatment safe for teeth?

Some have wondered whether laser dentistry is really safe for your teeth or if it causes damage to them. But, you’ll be happy to know that after testing and time spent using the laser, it’s been found to be safer than most traditional dental practices. Traditional dental tools are sharp and can slip from someone’s hand only to cut into a patient’s mouth.

Because there are both hard tissue lasers and soft tissue lasers, your dental professional will be able to ensure that your teeth are not over-exposed to any type of laser that could harm them in any way.

Is laser dentistry painful?

Laser dentistry is known for being one of the least painful dental experiences offered today.


If you want to learn more about laser dentistry and how it can help your smile and oral health, check out our blog. It’s filled with great articles on what laser dentistry is and how it works. Ready to book an appointment with the team at Wayzata Dental? You can find our calendar and book an appointment by following this link or calling us at 952-473-4900.

Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..

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