By Joy Raskie RDH - August 23, 2021
Frequently Asked Questions in Laser Dentistry
As I travel around the country teaching laser dentistry to both dentists and hygienists, I find these are the most common questions asked from all dental professionals which can also be relayed to the patient as well.
Will laser hurt?
In essence, laser is pain-free, and that’s why it’s growing in popularity with clients. Laser is capable of producing an analgesic-type effect, which means the patient feels less pain than if you do not use laser at all. Since laser therapy targets and reduces inflammation as well as increases the healing process, the overall experience is one of pleasant treatment for the patient.
Is anesthetic needed with laser treatment?
Most laser procedures can be done without anesthesia and/or topical anesthetic. The treatment is virtually pain-free, which reduces the need for anesthetic intervention in the process. To identify if anesthetic is needed, individual review of the patient and health history need to be discussed at the office.
Are there any negative laser side effects?
If the laser is used properly with the correct settings, there are not any negative laser side effects. The person administering the laser needs to be trained in the correct techniques, protocols, and practices to ensure the process is as seamless as possible for the patient.
Since the Diode laser can produce heat if the technique is left in one place for too long, the laser can create unwanted effects without proper oversight.
Professional training is absolutely needed for all procedures; otherwise, a patient can sustain injuries. But, with in-depth experience and hands-on training in a monitored environment, there are not any negative resulting side effects.
How long does the laser treatment last?
At its core, laser (with regards to hygiene and pocket therapy) can last forever if the patient takes care to create a healthy at-home regimen that preserves the treatment. If a pocket flares up later in time, the laser can immediately be leveraged to stop the disease right in its tracks. Laser is an effective tool to prevent the disease from manifesting throughout the oral cavity.
Laser can uniquely target specific pockets of the mouth, as well as the entire mouth. Hygienists use the laser on deeper pockets to get rid of bacteria, heal portions of the mouth, and prevent future biofilm infections.
It’s important to stress the at-home care regimen for all patients after they leave the office. Cleaning under the gums daily can ensure that this treatment lasts forever.
When doctors use the laser for more surgical procedures that involve cutting and/or removal or gum tissue, the results can last forever. The bonus of laser is it is only needed once and with proper technique, the gum tissue will stay where it is left, which means no gum recession. Let the patient know that with laser, there is no need for stiches and it’s virtually pain-free. There is no other treatment comparable to it on the market.
How many times do we have to perform laser treatment?
Every office operates differently leveraging laser treatment as they see fit. Some offices will only use the laser with scaling and root planning. They use the laser to treat deeper pockets and heal the gum tissue with laser-sharp precision. These offices will only use laser on severe cases.
Other offices will expand out from the severe label and use laser on other high-risk patients, ones that are medically compromised. Laser, in this case, is used every three-to-four months, depending on what the patient needs.
For many offices it’s commonplace to offer laser therapy with every hygiene visit to help decontaminate the mouth prior to cleaning. Laser helps limit the microbes that can be released into the bloodstream during the cleaning process. This aids in aerosol management during the cleaning process itself.
It’s completely up to you and your office to decide how frequently you want to use and prescribe laser treatment.
Who is compatible with laser treatment?
You can use laser treatment on every single person. It depends on what they need, why they are at the office, and past medical records. Laser treatment can even be administered on babies, children, and adults.
When determining if laser is the right course of action, consider patient risk factors and review all the benefits of incorporating laser dentistry. Develop an after-care plan that you carefully present to the client so they can maximize the benefits of pain-free laser treatment today.
Do I need laser training?
All dental hygienists received ultrasonic training and all doctors received handpiece training to be effective, work efficiently and produce the best patient outcomes. Laser is a new tool, and just like these other common tools in dentistry, laser also requires training, including a hands-on component. This will help each clinician be the most effective and work efficiently within each appointment, as well as produce the best patient outcomes with laser.
Every state has different rules and regulations but most all states require basic laser physics and safety training prior to using the laser on patients. This will keep your patients safe as well as mitigate any negative or adverse side effects of laser therapy.
Advanced Dental Hygiene’s laser training expands on more than the just laser physics and safety, but also includes the science behind what the laser is doing within each procedure itself, settings for each laser device, technique tips and videos, verbalization instruction to also include role-playing scenarios, billing/codes and insurance considerations, treatment planning and an in-depth hands-on approach.
Seeking out a comprehensive approach to laser training will ensure all team members are on-board and laser treatment is a commonplace in both the hygiene and doctor’s schedules.
Should I incorporate lasers into my practice?
Remember, lasers can play a large role in many of the commonplace dental issues that your patients face, and that means that you can offer them better care, better treatment, and a better experience overall.
It’s Time to Get Started
First and foremost, incorporating the use of dental lasers into your practice begins with purchasing the right equipment. You can view all of the newest laser equipment by clicking the link below.
If you are interested in laser training and want to learn more about how you can incorporate diode laser technology into your dental practice, get in touch with Advanced Dental Hygiene today and learn more about the training process.
Get in touch with us today.