If you are like most Americans, you do not look forward to dental visits. In fact, you may have not been in for a cleaning and exam in a couple of years. You're not too busy; you just figure if you don't have a toothache or bleeding gums, it's not worth all the anxious discomfort that accompanies sitting in the dentist's chair. You're not the only one who feels that way; in fact, most people go three years in between dental visits. However, you probably have a sneaking suspicion that neglecting your mouth will cost you. It will. A whopping 74% of Americans have periodontal disease, and 26% have untreated dental decay, so chances are your teeth need more than just a cleaning.
There's good news on the horizon for people like you, though. Put away your anxiety, because laser dentistry is the kinder, gentler way to do dental restorations. Continue for more information.
What is laser dentistry?
Laser dentistry uses intense, focused beams of light to do many of the dental procedures you may associate with anxiety or pain. Because the dentist does not have to use tools to drill, scrape, or cut into teeth or gum tissue, you have a much more pleasant experience than you've had in the past. You don't hear noisy drills, smell acrid smoke, or feel uncomfortable vibrations in your far-from-anesthesia mouth.
Five reasons to consider laser dentistry
1. It's efficient.
Because laser dentistry causes much less pain than traditional methods, you may find you need little or no anesthesia. This means you don't have to spend idle time in the dentist's chair, alone, waiting for anesthesia to take effect. Procedures done with laser dentistry can be done quickly, getting you back into your day sooner so you can be productive with your time.
2. It's clean.
Laser dentistry eliminates much of the bleeding caused by traditional dental methods. If you've ever watched in alarm as what seems like a lot of blood goes up the suction tube from your mouth, you may be relieved to know that won't happen with a laser.
3. It's kind.
You will appreciate not going through the trauma caused to your mouth by scraping, cutting, and drilling. Because laser dentistry causes very little swelling, you won't feel like your mouth has suffered an assault.
4. It's effective.
Patients who have had procedures done with laser dentistry experience shorter healing times than those who have the same procedures done with traditional methods. Because the heat from a laser destroys bacteria in gum tissue and cavities, post-procedure infections are unlikely. You can walk away from the office expecting a brief, complete recovery.
5. It's just a dentist visit.
If you experience extreme anxiety over dental visits, you may spend the time leading up to your appointments in mental and emotional anguish. With laser dentistry, you can put aside those fears and worries because you won't be experiencing the pain you used to anticipate. Your appointment will just be another routine life activity.
A few caveats
Although laser dentistry is a great thing, it isn't for everyone. For one thing, it can't be used on a tooth with a previous filling. It also isn't indicated for cavities between teeth, or around large cavities in teeth that are being prepped for crowns. Lastly, the cost of laser dentistry can be prohibitive if you do not have insurance coverage.
If you know you probably need dental procedures beyond a routine cleaning, talk to your dentist about the possibility of laser dentistry. If it is appropriate for the procedures you need, and your dentist isn't certified in laser use, ask for a referral. Finding a way to treat your current dental problems without discomfort and anxiety means you are more likely to keep up routine visits and seek treatment sooner in the future if problems arise. That's a win!