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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Research Suggests Benefits of Lasers for Certain Dental Issues

For patients who choose laser debridement for teeth whitening, there are now indications that the process offers additional benefits including killing bacteria and boosting better dental health.
According to the study published in the “Lasers in Surgery and Medicine” journal, researchers developed computer simulations to assess the impact of different laser wavelengths on bacteria colonies concealed in gum tissue. These bacterial colonies are responsible for gum inflammation or gum disease, which starts as a painless condition known as gingivitis and advances into a more serious infection that can cause tooth loss, known as periodontal disease.
benefits of lasers in dentistryIn the study, the researchers observed that laser treatment was effective in killing the harmful bacteria for patients diagnosed with gum disease, which resulted in better health.
Details of the Research
The researchers used the optical features of bacteria and gum tissues to develop mathematical models. Then, they used three different laser-types used in dentistry to produce simulations of their effects on two unique bacterial colonies with different sizes and depths within the gum.
In one of the experiments to determine the maximum depth that each laser light can effectively reach bacteria within the gum, the simulations showed that both the 810 nm diode lasers and the 1064 nm ND: YAG laser could kill bacteria buried 3mm deep in the gums. With the former laser, the success of the procedure required the use of moderate energy levels and short pulses.
The simulations also showed that both lasers did not have any adverse effects on the healthy tissue, with negligible heating of the surrounding tissue. Minimal thermal injury means that the tissue heals faster.
The computer simulations are accompanied with video descriptions that allow readers to see the changes to the virtual gum tissues as they heat up – when killing bacteria – and then cool down right after.
Implications of the Study
According to Dr. Reinisch, the lead researcher, the findings of this study provide a basis that medical professionals can use to tweak the power, pulse duration, wavelength, and other laser parameters to maximize the bacteria killing effect.
Moreover, the research shows that laser treatment can be safely used to remove an infection with minimal interference of the tissue, improving recovery times. Considering that the use of lasers in dentistry requires additional training for medical professionals, the costs of the treatment can be rather prohibitive. For a patient to part with $5,000 to $100,000, there must be definite gains that justify the costs.

Currently, about 25 percent of dental practices in the US have dental laser treatment for periodontal treatment, as well as a range of soft tissue and hard tissue procedures. This study could increase confidence in laser treatment in dentistry, as well as other treatments such as dermatological and vocal cord procedures.

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