Hard vs Soft-Tissue Laser Dental Procedures

If you’re considering bringing the dental laser into your practice, you may be debating the merits of different types of lasers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the dental use of seven different wavelengths since 1990, and those distinctions have a direct impact on a given laser’s operation and efficacy. The right laser will depend on the nature of your individual dental practice. Understanding the services and treatments for which hard and soft tissue lasers can be used is an important first step.

A Versatile Technology

We’ve written before about the benefits of dental lasers and how this versatile tool can help a dental practice. From a patient’s point of view, the laser means less time in the dentist’s chair and no or minimal anesthesia. On the dentist or technician side, a dental laser makes it possible to treat specific areas without damage to surrounding tissue, which means it’s useful for a number of different procedures. Different applications can be grouped into hard and
soft tissue procedures.

Hard-Tissue Applications

When the focus is on the teeth themselves, and the procedures used to treat and correct associated issues, a hard-tissue laser is appropriate. This includes dental procedures such as:

• Reshaping bone: The process of crown lengthening often uses hard and soft tissue lasers in tandem. Hard tissue lasers are used to reshape bone, exposing healthier tooth structure, while soft tissue lasers work to reshape the gum tissue.
• Preparing fillings: Unlike the traditional dental drill, a hard tissue laser can eliminate the need for local anesthesia. The laser kills bacteria in the cavity, helping to ensure long-term restorations.
• Treating sensitive teeth: Open tubules on the root of a tooth can cause sensitivity to heat and cold. The hard tissue laser can effectively seal those tubules to reduce or even eliminate this kind of sensitivity.

Soft Tissue Applications

Common soft tissue laser applications include:

• Reshaping gum tissue: A step in the process of crown lengthening, and useful for addressing “gummy” smiles.
• Removing soft tissue folds: Soft tissue folds created by badly-fitting dentures can be easily removed with a soft-tissue laser.
• Frenectomy: A laser frenectomy may be an appropriate procedure for babies unable to breast feed or children with speech impediments.

The Takeaway

Offering hard or soft-tissue lasers come with a high initial investment, but technology is advancing rapidly. Consider the cost of performing dental procedure without the portability, versatility, and superior technology that the lasers offer, and it’s easy to see why they’re so popular. For more information about dental lasers, including classes and on-site training to bring your staff up to speed, contact Dedicated Dental Hygiene today.