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Living on the laser’s edge

People who fear the dentist’s drill now have the option of getting their teeth fixed using a near painless procedure. Dr Ashish Kakar writes.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 12, 2011 18:39 IST

People who fear the dentist’s drill now have the option of getting their teeth fixed using a near painless procedure. Dental lasers that deliver quick pulses of heat energy to the treatment area. Lasers help dentists conserve as much bone and teeth as possible without damaging the surrounding tissues and structures.

They remove cavities without the pressure and vibration and sound of the dental drill. Also, patients require little or no anaesthesia for most dental procedures.

In recent research conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, only three in 1,300 patients requested local anaesthesia for laser treatment. Extensive pre-clinical and clinical studies have shown good overall performance and safety, better patient comfort and satisfaction when compared with the traditional high-speed drill.

There are several advantages to using a laser. One, the procedures are performed using soft tissue. Dental lasers may not require stitches. Little or no anaesthesia is needed for most procedures. There is minimal bleeding as the high-energy light beam aids in the clotting. The beam also sterilises the area being worked on, lowering risk of bacterial infection.

The precision lowers damage to the surrounding tissue, with patients reporting faster wound healing and tissue regeneration.

(Dr Ashish Kakar is a senior consultant orthodontist and runs a clinic at Greater Kailash-II, New Delhi.)