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Laser Use in Dentistry
Lasers have been used in dentistry since 1994 to treat a number of dental
problems. But, despite FDA approval, no laser system has received the American
Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance. That seal assures dentists that the
product or device meets ADA standards of safety and efficacy, among other
things. The ADA, however, states that it is cautiously optimistic about the
role of laser technology in the field of dentistry. These lasers are different
from the cold lasers used in phototherapy for the relief of headaches, pain,
Still, some dentists are using lasers to treat:
- Tooth decay. Lasers are used to remove decay within a tooth and prepare the surrounding enamel for receipt of the filling.
Lasers are also used to "cure" or harden a filling.
- Gum disease. Lasers are used to reshape gums and remove bacteria during
root canal procedures.
- Biopsy or lesion removal. Lasers can be used to remove a small piece
of tissue (called a biopsy) so that it can be examined for cancer. Laser are
also used to remove lesions in the mouth; and relieve the pain of canker sores.
- Teeth whitening. Lasers are used to speed up the in-office teeth whitening procedures. A peroxide
bleaching solution, applied to the tooth surface, is "activated" by
laser energy, which speeds up of the whitening process.
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