Lasers have been used in dentistry since 1994 to treat a number of dental problems. These lasers are different from the cold lasers used in phototherapy for the relief of headaches, pain, and inflammation. Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Re mineralization (EAER) deals with a small electrical current allowing calcium and phosphate to remineralize the tooth thus protecting from decay. Use of a low intensity laser can regrow dentin and reverse tooth decay. The light from the laser activates a chemical in the mouth which stimulates stem cells and act as a repair system for the body deep within teeth.
Traditional process to treat tooth decay
In traditional method dentists will drill into the decayed area and remove the unhealthy material from it. A drill basically grinds away everything in its path. And it sets up heat, friction and vibration that effect the nerve. After removing the decay and cleaning the area, the tooth colored material is applied in layers which is followed by exposing to a special light that hardens each layer applied. When the multilayer process is completed the shaping of the composite material to the desired result by trimming off any excess material and then polish the final restoration.
Working of laser in treating tooth decay
A laser works specifically only on the diseased part of the tooth. Decayed tooth has high water content compared to healthy tooth. Hence laser selectively targets to vaporize only the decay area. It doesn’t effect the nerve of the tooth.
Compared to traditional drill lasers have benefits like:
- They cause less pain in cases where the usage of anesthesia is reduced.
- Lasers also reduce anxiety in patients who are uncomfortable with the use of dental drill.
- They minimize selling during soft tissue treatments.
- They enable to preserve more of the healthy tooth during cavity removal.
- Lasers enable to regenerate bone and ligament tissue.
- They eliminate bleeding of the gums immediately.
The disadvantages of lasers are that:
- Lasers can’t be used on teeth with fillings already in place.
- Lasers can’t be used to fill cavities located between teeth, around old fillings, and large cavities that need to be prepared for a crown.
- Lasers cannot be used to remove defective crowns or silver fillings, or prepare teeth for bridges.
- Traditional drills may still be needed to shape the filling, adjust the bite, and polish the filling even when a laser is used.
- Lasers do not eliminate the need for anesthesia.
- Laser treatment tends to be more expensive the cost of the laser is much higher than a dental drill.
Despite the drawbacks of taking a laser treatment it is quite effective and useful for treatment. .It is believed that present diets are expediting tooth decay as acidic foods and drinks like citrus and soda erode enamel. Increased amounts of carbohydrates and refined sugars have also been identified as a cause leaving people more prone to developing decay.