Portland Dentist

Laser DentistryPortland, ME

The role and use of lasers in dentistry has grown considerably in the last several decades. Below is a brief description of how we utilize lasers at Inspire Dental of Maine.

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    No-needle, no-shot fillings

    Perhaps foremost in the minds of our patients, is that we can provide most (though not all) fillings without the need for injection of local anesthetic. No-needle, no-shot fillings may be the advantage patients appreciate the most! Because a laser removes decayed tissue without friction or heat, most fillings can be done pain-free, without injections. There are exceptions of course, such as when the tooth is already sensitive to cold air/water or if the decay extends very deep, near to the nerves (tooth pulp) or if we are removing a metal filling. The laser cannot cut metal. We may sometimes still need to give an injection and perform the procedure through traditional methods. However, most restorations at our office do not require a shot.

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    There are other benefits as well

    Using a dental laser for cavity preparations also eliminates vibrations experienced with a traditional dental handpiece/drill. There are also significant time savings for patients through use of the laser in dentistry. For example, we do not have to wait for the anesthetic injection to take effect, decreasing chair time. If, for example, you require four fillings, each one in a different corner of your mouth, we would normally break this into 2-4 appointments because we not want to get your your entire mouth numb all at once. In contrast, with a laser we can complete "four-quadrant dentistry" in a single visit, when the work does not require anesthetic injection.

    How does a dental laser work?

    There are different types of lasers, for different applications. We use Fotona: LightWalker® - an "ErYAG" type laser, which denotes that its "lasing medium" is Erbium-doped with Yttrium Aluminium and Garnet. This type of laser produces specific wavelengths of light (2940 nm), which makes it ideal for "hard tissue" (teeth) applications, because this wavelength resonates very strongly with water and to a lesser extent hydroxyapatite, the mineral component of teeth. Why does this matter? Because the components of healthy teeth are mostly mineral and very little water; whereas tooth-decay and bacteria are mostly water. So, whereas a traditional dental bur does not discriminate, cutting whatever it touches, a laser does! An ErYAG laser will provide a more precise cavity preparation, preferentially removing more of the bad stuff (killing harmful bacteria and ablating tooth decay) while preserving more of the good stuff, like healthy dentin and enamel.

    Advances in laser technology are changing the way that patients experience treatment as well as the ways that dental problems are being resolved. Lasers provide more efficient, more comfortable and more predictable outcomes for patients.

    -Dr. Ambrose Chan

    Contact Us

    Inspire Dental of Maine is located at 1355 Congress St Ste B Portland, ME 04102.

    (207) 221-5578