Laser use in Dental Hygiene


Laser technologies are changing dentistry as we know it with new breakthroughs technologies.


What is a laser?


A Laser is a device that converts electrical or chemical energy into light energy.


The word “laser” is an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation,” which means that the intense and narrow beam of light is of one wavelength.


Laser Light can be delivered by a number of different mechanisms.


The main kinds of dental lasers include diode and Nd:YAG lasers that target diseased tissue; carbon-dioxide lasers that work well in soft tissue; and Erbium lasers that work well in both soft and hard tissue.


For more information on types go to:


How do lasers work?


All lasers work by delivering energy in the form of light.


A laser uses a focused beam of light which creates heat that targets the area of treatment.


When used at the appropriate setting, the beam is so precise it only removes diseased tissue, while killing the biofilm present in the tissue wall, leaving healthy tissue intact.


What do we use lasers for?


Lasers can be used for many procedures including : Crown lengthening, teeth whitening, removing canker sores, removing necrotic tissues and much more.


Lasers can be used on gums for periodontal procedures with relatively no bleeding, since it will also seal blood vessels and because of this, postoperative discomfort is greatly reduced. In addition, homeostasis may be achieved during laser use.


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 beaching agents.


What are the risks?


The only physical risk in laser therapy is the risk of an eye damage.


While never reported to have occurred, the risk of an eye damage must be considered, especially when using an invisible and collimated (parallel) beam.


Suitable protective goggles should be worn by the patient for extra oral therapy in the face.


Why offer it to patients?


When laser treatment is offered, patients know they are getting value and are more open to comprehensive treatment.


Many clinicians who use lasers have observed enthusiasm and better case acceptance from patients.


Since adding laser to treatment plans, we have also observed superior healing as well.


Our goal, after all, is to better serve our patients, by improving both their dental health and overall health.


We understand the systemic link and need to look beyond simply what is going on in the periodontal pocket.


Anything we can do to get better clinical results and compliance from our patients will assist in keeping our patients in remission.


How do we use a laser?


The laser is quite simple to use, and it does not take a lot of the appointment time.


The function of the laser is to reduce the bacterial population in the pocket, including the sulcular wall.


Various studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of the laser to decontaminate periodontal pockets.


Some procedures with lasers do not even require anesthetic for use.


There are many options available for our patients today to ensure comfort whether it is injectable or non-injectable anesthetics.


There are many types of lasers available so a course on the one you will be using in your office is best.


The best laser courses include adequate time with live patients so that the clinician is confident when seeing patients back in the office.


Participants should receive safety and technique instruction with whatever type of laser is available in their practice.


In addition to the clinical skills, it is important to use proper verbiage to communicate with the patient and to understand how the laser affects treatment planning.




Liz Lundry, RDH, (Web site for Academy of Laser Dentistry)


For more information:


Coluzzi D, Dentistry Today. 2007 April;124–127


Andrian E, et al. J Dent Res. 2006 May;85(5):392–404


Brozovic S, et al. Microbiology. 2006 Mar; 152 (Pt 3):797–806


Andreas M, et al. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 1998; 22:302–311


Pick R, Dentistry Today. 2000 Sept;50–53