Call Us: (028) 90 246 311


Lasers In Dentistry

Crescent Dental Health are proud to have the first Biolase iPlus Waterlase, ( a hard and soft tissue laser) in N.Ireland. This device involves cutting edge technology and allows us to remove decayed , infected or abnormal tissue at a cellular level, with a precision that completely outperforms traditional dental instruments.

LASER is an abbreviated term for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. What does that mean ?

Essentially the Laser produces a very narrow, intense pulse of light energy. When the laser light comes into contact with tissues ( tooth or gums) it causes a reaction and the cells break apart and can be safely removed. The beam of light emitted by the laser is “laser sharp” and has the ability not only to remove or shape gum tissue but also to remove tooth or bone. We can therefore use this laser to remove tooth decay.

How Are Lasers Used To Remove Tooth Decay?

Tooth tissue contains water, the laser energy is absorbed by the water, the energy causes the water to boil and the resulting steam pressure vaporises the tissues. Diseased or decayed tooth has a significantly higher proportion of water than healthy tooth and so the diseased tooth is targeted while the healthy tooth remains intact . We cannot always guarantee that only the decayed tooth will be removed with a traditional drill.

There are many Advantages to using A Laser Over A Normal Drill To Remove Decay

The benefit patients most appreciate about laser is it’s comfort, many procedures can be carried out without any anaesthetic .The laser is a precision instrument and incredibly gentle on teeth and gums with the result a lot less post operative inflammation occurs so patients have less pain after
procedures and significantly faster healing.

When we use a conventional drill to cut a tooth, it actually tears away the tooth leaving fractures and cracks in the surrounding healthy tooth, these fractures weaken the tooth and leaves it prone to future decay.

As the drill cuts, despite the water it produces massive frictional heat in the surrounding tissues that damages neighbouring cells and can even damage the nerve of the tooth. This leaves a damaged surface reducing the bond strength of our modern dental materials to the tooth.

Finally as we use a drill, the aerosol sucks bacteria back into the head of the drill and tooth tissue is embedded into the burs/drill bits, we know that even modern sterilisers cannot completely sterilise these. The only way to effectively sterilise a handpick is with irradiation and that is not feasible within our health service in Northern Ireland. Lasers eliminate any risk in this regard .

Lasers are more conservative than drills as they selectively target the soft, darker, decayed areas of tooth, conserving and protecting the healthy tooth structure.

As the energy pulses are so fast, a laser can often be used to remove decay without the need for anaesthetic.

The laser works at a cellular level, although it vaporises the cell it doesn’t produce any heat in the neighbouring tooth cells and so doesn’t cause any damage to the surrounding tooth structures

The laser does not actually touch the tooth merely the beam of light it emits touches the tooth. The wands the light is directed through are single use and disposed, so the laser is completely safe and can be truly fully sterilised.

Because lasers involve very narrow beams of light they can be directed easily to remove new decay that has occurred around a crown or filling without touching or damaging the crown .

If decay has extended under the gum, the laser can be used to gently reshape the gum and remove any decay to place a new filling more easily.

Laser use leaves the surface of a tooth perfectly clean and in the best possible condition to bond a filling or crown onto the tooth. When we use a conventional drill the surface is covered with a slurry that we need to remove using an acid wash.

Lasers can be used to detect decay in a tooth without the need of an X-ray, so no radiation exposure for the patient.

Will It Hurt?

Lasers are a new way of working and patients truly value the new experience of an absence of vibration touch and discomfort of a traditional drill or scalpel
Can Laser Be Used In Other Ways In Dentistry? Lasers can be used in a number of ways in everyday general dentistry including:

Treatment of Gum Disease.

Endodontics. (root fillings)

Oral Surgery.

Treatment of Gum Disease, Gum disease is one of the most common diseases known to man. Tartar/calculus attaches to the tooth and root, attacking and destroying the bone. eventually this leads to the tooth loosening and being lost. The corner stone of periodontal therapy (gum treatment) is to remove all hardened bacteria and associated plaque from the surface of the root of the tooth to leave it sterile to allow the gum to heal.

Traditionally we use various instruments shaped to clean the root surface and scrape the debris away. Technically this is very difficult because of the complex shape of the root and often it proves necessary to carry out a surgical procedure, peeling back the gum to expose the bone and root surface and allow cleaning under direct vision. Once this is completed the gum is stitched back into place. We know this mechanical cleaning causes a certain amount of damage, and of course although we do this to ultimately benefit the patient the surgical procedure can lead to inflammation and tenderness. Laser offers a different solution to this problem while still allowing us to help you control any active gum disease we may find in your mouth.

Using the Biolase and specific delivery tips that emit laser light in all directions, we can direct laser light to fall onto the root surface. This quickly removes tartar and very effectively sterilises the surface, leaving the surface undamaged and in perfect condition to allow the gum to heal and tighten around t he roots . This negates the need for surgery so it is faster and a lot more comfortable for our patients.

Endodontic Treatment, The most important aspect of an effective root canal filling is the sterility of the nerve chamber and canals. The nerve chamber running into the root is a complex 3D shape, which is difficult to clean. Traditionally we wash the canals with bleach to cleanse the tooth of bacteria. This is dependent on the bleach being able to reach far into the nooks and crannies of the complex canal system and we know this falls short of 100% on most root canals .

However lasers again provide a solution as using specific light emitting tips which fire radially (in all directions) the laser energy destroys bacteria on contact. When we subsequently fill the canals with a liquid and then agitate it with laser energy this has the desired effect of scrubbing the walls clean. For the patients this means much faster, more effective sterilisation of the root surface. The laser delivers a better job in less time.

Surgery, we use a scalpel to make an incision, approximately 800 cells either side of the incision will die along the length of the cut. To allow healing, these cells need to be removed, as they die by the body’s healthy cells in a tidy up operation. This is an inflammatory response and can lead to pain.

If we use a Laser however to make the same incision less than 20 cells die along the incision, which means faster healing and greatly reduced pain. This is probably one of the more recognised uses of lasers in main stream medicine as a cutting device and alternative to the traditional scalpel . In dentistry we can use it for a range of surgical procedures such as treating people who are tongue tied, biopsies, uncovering un-erupted teeth, surgical extraction of teeth, exposing implants or reshaping the gum to allow easier placement of crowns and restorations.

Lasers can also help us with providing you with the best possible fit and aesthetic for crowns. Crown Lengthening is a procedure, where we reshape the bone and gum around teeth, this is used to correct deformities in the bone or teeth prior to placing crowns. Traditionally with a scalpel this usually requires a minimum of three weeks to allow healing before crowns can be placed and patients are told to expect a week of post operative discomfort. A laser can achieve the same result without the need for surgery and work can start 1 week post operation with little to no post operative pain.

Lasers make treatment more efficient , faster and more comfortable. WE appreciate our patients have busy lives and saving them time has inherent value .

Can Lasers Be Used To Whiten Teeth Effectively? Laser energy can activate the whitening chemicals that are used to lighten teeth. The laser doesn’t damage the tooth it merely activates the chemical solution to lighten your smile