Currently we utilize two lasers in our practice:
1. DIAGNOdent (KAVO, Germany). It is a diode laser that operates at 655 nanometers.
Shining the laser on enamel will cause it to fluoresce (the emission of electromagnetic radiation, especially of visible light, stimulated in a substance by the absorption of incident radiation and persisting only as long as the stimulating radiation is continued). Altered tooth substances (demineralized enamel and carious enamel) fluoresce at a different wavelength. It is the difference in wavelengths that is detected by the device that is reported as a number on the display.
We use this laser for the diagnosis of decay in the grooves of your teeth. It will tell us how much and how deep decay has penetrated your tooth. This is a huge advantage over traditional probing methods where we had a hard time discerning between a stain and a decay in your back teeth. Many times the enamel has remineralized and is hardened, but just below, decay is still present in the dentin. When the decay is in the middle of your tooth, radiography (x-ray pictures) is not that useful because the tooth is too wide, at that point, to give us adequate information.
2. Odyssey laser (Ivoclar Vivadent, Lichtenstein). It is a diode laser that operates at 810 nanometers.
This is useful for many soft tissue procedures such as haemostasis (control of bleeding), soft tissue recontouring, frenectomy, treatment of periodontal pockets, exposure of the edges of deeply fractured teeth and treatment of viral/bacterial ulcerations (cold sores). Many of the procedures here can be done with minimal or no freezing and their use has greatly reduced any post-operative discomfort and healing time while, at the same time, greatly increasing the treatment outcome.
One of the most welcome benefits of this laser is the potential to reduce periodontal pocketing, especially in those with rapidly progressing periodontal disease. Some of our early trials have shown demonstrable pocket depth and inflammation reduction in trials on one side of the mouth. On the other side, we have not noted similar healing using conventional treatment modalities, including specialist treatments. In the past, we have required referral, antibiotic therapy and occasional surgical techniques. This may be one of the biggest advancements in dentistry yet. We eagerly await further results as well as scientific validation.
These two items have been indispensable to our current operations and have greatly improved our quality of service to our patients.
LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.