Revolution in orthodontics: the laser
For many a reason it is considered one of the
most important inventions of the XX century. The
orthodontic laser is a medical tool that generates a
highly concentrated beam of light. The beam sterilises
the target-area and at the same time coagulates the
blood vessels thereby reducing the risk of infection or
bleeding. Results: dental visits become much more
relaxing, and in most cases there is no need of anesthesia.
Some procedures can be carried out at a fraction of the
time required by the same intervention without laser, with
evident benefits on the duration of “dentist-chair-time”.
Laser efficiency is based on absorption peak rates of the
materials contained in the target-area (hard or soft) and
of other dental materials (for example haemoglobin, water,
hydro peroxide, etc.) of a single wave length. The optimal
energy is provided with the least possible emission, based
on the single and unique absorption characteristics of the
wave lengths. Some of these wave lengths have an affinity
with water and with red pigmentations, which is why they
are precisely efficient for the soft tissues of the buccal
Practical application: interaction with the
oral cavity tissues.
There are four possible interactions when the
laser comes into contact with the dental tissues: reflection,
absorption, transmission and scattering. Reflection
occurs when the laser light reflects the dental tissue;
with absorption, the laser energy is absorbed thus
beginning treatment (vaporisation, ablation, coagulation,
etc.); transmission is a process in which the
laser's energy is directly transferred through the tissue,
usually without any effect, and instead when laser energy
comes into contact with the tissue, hence expanding and
dividing in a greater area, we are speaking of scattering.
Stop with the drill, against caries there is
now a painless laser
old, terrible drill is now retiring, as is the long and fearsome needle used to inject
anaesthetic into the gums. Thanks to technology the
dentist is now a friend that no longer is scary.
cure cavities (caries) there is now the erbium laser.
It is a tool, born in military ambit for intelligent
missile guidance systems and satellite defence, that has
found a wonderful application in daily life. It allows the
exportation of ruined dental enamel without harming the
healthy part of the tooth.
The laser eliminates only the ill part by
concentrating upon it a thin beam of light of variable
commanded intensity. The cavity is eliminated by a storm
of micro explosions that remodel the tooth surface. The
patient will only feel a slight tingle, but not the
slightest pain. On the contrary, the hated drill of
ancient memory had to dig holes and spaces in order to
prepare room for the filling. Today this invasive and
loathsome procedure is substituted by the laser which
automatically executes preparations without harming the
healthy tissue. It allows much smaller fillings in respect
of the tooth. In this way we avoid the many
devitilisations that were once necessary.
However the magic, if we can in this way define
that which is science, is that the tooth does not
perceive the laser treatment. Even in the case
of important caries it is possible to export the decayed
tissue and insert the new aesthetic filling without having
to inject anaesthetics and without pain. All of this
allows a better time management, hence allowing more
fillings to be carried out in the same session.
dental surface treated with the laser also presents a
particular crater like structure that allows an optimum
adhesion of the new aesthetic materials. In the many
niches present on the tooth's surface it is possible to
apply a layer of highly fluid resin on which the new
filling can be glued. Its adhesive power will not render
likely filling break or loss.
laser in dental implants
dental implants the laser can help to decontaminate the
sites where bacteria may deposit, and helps activate the
healing process. It seems to be particularly efficient in
post-extraction implants with immediate loading. That is,
when a new tooth is to be inserted over a titanium root
soon after having extracted the damaged dental root.
Practically speaking, the ill or fractured tooth is
extracted and the empty alveolar bone space is
decontaminated by laser. Thus, the new implant and the
new tooth are inserted. This way an immediate aesthetic
and masticatory ability is regained in the same day. Let's
remember however that whatever tool is only an aide in the
hands of a doctor who must be able to explain to the
patient the limits, the possibilities, and the correct
applications. No intervention for as innovative as it may
be must give way to the hope of a “miracle”: a deep
and trusting relationship between patient and dentist
constitutes the basis of a good cure.
last update: 21 January 2008