Lasers have been used in dentistry since a couple of years to treat a number of dental problems. Still, lasers are used 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. Lasers are also used to remove lesions in the mouth and relieve the pain of canker sores.
- Teeth whitening. Lasers are used to speed up 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.
All lasers work by delivering energy in the form of light. When used for surgical and dental procedures, the laser acts as a cutting instrument or a vaporizer of tissue that it comes in contact with. When used for "curing" a filling, the laser helps to strengthen the bond between the filling and the tooth. When used in teeth-whitening procedures, the laser acts as a heat source and enhances the effect of tooth-bleaching agents.