Lasers have become more and more popular in the dental world. The efficiency of the new technology has been used to treat conditions such as tooth decay, teeth whitening, gum disease and recession and biopsy.
More recently, however, dentists have turned to laser technology to use on fillings, rather than using the traditional drill.
How Do Laser Fillings Work?
A laser is energy transferred through the form of light. In the case of a dental filling, the decay on a tooth must be removed before preparing for the actual filling. With the laser and water working together, the new tool essentially vaporizes the decay.
This process becomes much easier, faster and less painful than when using a traditional dental drill.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Lasers?
The laser technology includes some great benefits. Let’s take a look at how they compare to the traditional dental drill.
Pros: A Dental Laser…
- Minimizes Bleeding/Swelling. Use of the laser significantly reduces the amount of bleeding and/or swelling typically involved in soft tissue treatment.
- Reduces Anxiety in Patients. Some people are very nervous about having a drill used on their teeth. The laser provides another option for them to have a more relaxed experience while getting a tooth filling.
- Reduces Pain. Compared to the use of a traditional drill, the laser works like a charm to keep pain at a minimum.
- Sterilizes the Tissue. The laser helps sterilize and disinfect the surrounding tissue of the tooth being operated on, keeping it clean and free of harmful chemicals.
- Targets the Decayed Area. As we mentioned before, the laser acts to remove the decay of a tooth. But it also helps preserve the healthy part of the tooth without removing it completely.
- Works to “Cure” Fillings. “Curing” a filling means to harden the composite the filling is made out of. This needs to happen in order for the tooth to withstand chewing without getting damaged.
Cons: A Dental Laser…
- Can’t Be Used in Commonly Performed Dental Procedures. Unfortunately, the laser cannot be used if the cavity being filled is:
- Located Between Teeth
- Close to Older Fillings
- A large cavity that needs to be prepared by a crown.
- Can’t Be Used on a Tooth Previously Filled. Lasers are a great choice for a tooth that has never needed a filling before. But in cases where the tooth has a previous filling in place, the laser cannot be used.
- Doesn’t Remove the Need for Anesthesia. While the laser does reduce the amount of anesthesia needed, it does not eliminate the need for anesthesia completely. This can be a challenge for patients who are weary about using general anesthesia.
- Is a More Expensive Equipment Choice. For dental offices looking to use laser technology, it is much more expensive than the dental drill (dental drills starting at $600, the lasers from $39,000 to $45,000). The prices for the procedures, however, will be up to the dentist to decide.
- Won’t Replace the Drill. For dental fillings, the drill will still need to be used for some steps of the process, including:
- Shaping the Filling
- Adjusting the Bite
- Polishing the Filling
While lasers may reduce the physical pain of dental procedures, the cost of the treatment can seem like a brand new cavity. We’d like to help!
In order for you to receive the pain-free, stress-free filling that you need, 1Dental offers discount dental plans. These plans reduce the rate that you would normally pay at all in-network dentists. Take a look at our fee schedule to view some of the low prices that our plans offer.
Signing up is easy! Simply go to our website, and click “Join Now” or give us a call at 800-372-7615.