By Joy Raskie RDH - July 5, 2021
Lasers in Hygiene 101
In the medical field, specifically the field of dentistry, staying on top of the technology that guides your field is critical. This means learning about new innovations, reading the research behind new procedures, and doing everything you can to bring some of these new technologies, innovations, procedures, and solutions into your own practice. One such technology revolves around the use of lasers to ensure dental and oral hygiene.
In this short article, we are going to take a deep dive into lasers in hygiene and why so many dentists and dental hygienists are implementing diode laser procedures into their practices.
What Can Lasers Do?
When it comes to dentistry, there really is no shortage of benefits that come from using lasers and the science behind it is quite strong as well. For instance, hygienists can use lasers for a variety of treatments. Let’s take a look at some possible uses below.
Lesions in the mouth are quite common. For instance, herpetic ulcers, also known as cold sores, along with aphthous ulcers, also known as canker sores, etc., are all rather common lesions that patients often report when coming to see their dentist.1 Lasers can help to treat these lesions by effectively inactivating the lesion to facilitate a more effective and efficient healing process. Once a patient’s cold sore is effectively treated multiple times, research shows that lasers can actually help to reduce the recurrence of cold sores.2
Another important benefit that comes along with diode laser procedures is that they can be used to desensitize teeth. We are always hearing from our patients and working with them to find solutions for sensitive teeth, and we’ve found that diode laser procedures work wonders.
Lasers function by changing the fluid in the dentinal tubule. The cold/hot stimuli first encounter the outer recession on your patients’ tooth where the dentinal tubule starts. The fluid in the dentinal tubule carries that stimulus to the nerve quite quickly which can give patients that needle-like “ouch” feeling. Lasers help to make the fluid, that flows in these dentinal tubules, more viscous or gel-like. With more viscosity, that fluid is less likely to flow back and forth so easily, ultimately reducing tooth sensitivity.3
Laser Bacterial Reduction
A huge bonus with lasers is their ability to target and reduce bacteria – and Laser Bacterial Reduction is a specific procedure designed to do exactly that. This simple, painless, and effective procedure is done prior to the teeth cleaning and relies on high-powered lasers to target and reduce bacteria in your patients’ mouth. During the ultrasonic and scaling process bacteria can enter the bloodstream via blood vessels surrounding the teeth and travel throughout the body, contributing to other infections, especially in medically compromised patients.4-7 Helping to decontaminate the sulcus prior to the teeth cleaning reduces the risk of a bacteremia, or bacteria in the bloodstream.8 On any given day, the bacteria count in our mouths likely reaches the billions. With LBR, you can drop that number from the billions down to several hundred, and then sustain that number for up to 6 weeks in-between regularly scheduled teeth cleanings.
LD – Laser Decontamination
LD, also known as Laser Decontamination, is a process similar to Laser Bacterial Reduction in that it is designed to reduce bacteria in your patients’ mouths. LD is sometimes referred to as LAPT – laser assisted periodontal therapy.
Just as conventional root debridement removes biofilm from hard tooth surfaces, laser decontamination also removes biofilm as well – but in the necrotic tissue of the pocket wall.9
Dental hygienists typically use extremely low settings which allows the laser to interact with the darker-diseased pigmented bacteria and leave the healthier, pink-colored tissue alone. This procedure is typically performed on diseased deeper pockets.
Along with decontaminating these deeper pockets, the laser also stimulates fibroblasts and collagen fibers that will help to strengthen the fibers surrounding the teeth resulting in heathier, more manageable gum pockets.10
Lastly, Photobiomodulation, also known as PBM, is another important procedure that utilizes lasers to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and accelerate the healing process. We mentioned earlier that lasers are being used by hygienists and dentists to treat lesions – and PBM works by the same process. It is becoming increasingly popular for patients who have recently undergone an extraction, oral surgery or for those with oral wounds that require healing.
PBM can actually be used for rapid wound healing, along with pain relief, increased collagen growth, and to treat inflammation. How? Well, PBM works to increase the production of collagen, along with enzyme activity, micro- and lymph-circulation, and fibroblast proliferation to decrease local hypoxia, inflammation, and pain.11
The powerful lights used in certain laser technology help to stimulate tissue and help it heal faster, while also reducing swelling. It can even help with TMJ pain, nausea, gag reflex, dry mouth, and so much more.12 With that in mind, it might be time for you to consider bringing laser technology into your practice.
Making The Jump To Laser Technology
If you aren’t quite convinced just yet with laser technology either because you’re not experienced in it or because you’re not sure if it’ll be worth the training, we are here to remind you just how easy it is to receive training in this exciting technology. In fact, our team can help you schedule and manage your training, so that you can incorporate this cutting-edge technology into your teeth cleaning processes.
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. Getting started is as simple as purchasing your first laser and then learning a bit more how to use it. Start small, train on one or two use cases first, and then expand your services and treatments from there. You have to start somewhere and sometime, so why not here and now?
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 us today and learn more about the training process.
Get in touch with us today.
Joy Raskie RDH
1.Herpes Simplex Virus. (2020, May 1). World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/herpes-simplex-virus.
2. Schindl, A., Neumann, R. Low-intensity Laser Therapy is an Effective Treatment for Recurrent Herpes Simplex Infection. Results from a Randomized Double-blind Placebo-controlled Study. J Invest Dermatol. 1999 Aug; 113(2): 221-3. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1747.1999.00684.x. PMID: 10469307.