All About Dental Lasers

Dr. P. Karunakar



LASERS Great studies in the field of equipment technology, has been one of the biggest boon of the industrial and electronic era of modern science. The same has touched our field of dentistry in a large way. One very exciting technology, making great inroads into a lot of areas of Dentistry today is the LASER technology. LASERS seem to be prevalent, right from the smallest laser pointer used by youngsters to have fun, to complex lasers used in medicine and also lasers used in stage shows and programs. Every discipline of dentistry has been positively affected by the laser technology. Starting from Paediatric and Operative dentistry to Periodontics, Prosthetics to Cosmetics and Implantology, Lasers have made a tremendous impact on the delivery of dental care in twenty first century.

The roots of using light for therapy can be traced to heliotherapy, actinotherapy – photomedicine. In 1960, Theodore Maiman, developed the first working laser device, which emitted a deep red-colored beam from a ruby crystal. The medical community in the mid to late 1970 had begun to incorporate lasers for soft-tissue procedures, and oral surgeons added the technology in the early 1980s. The word LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The laser beam is essentially a beam of a light comprising of excited photons. A laser consists of a lasing medium contained within an optical cavity, with an external energy source to maintain a population inversion so that stimulated emission of a specific wavelength can occur, producing a monochromatic, collimated, and coherent beam of light. Laser emission has three modes- continuous, gated pulse mode, free running pulse mode.

Laser light is delivered by Flexible hollow wave guide or tube and Glass fibre optic cable. Based on wavelength, lasers are two types – soft Lasers (lower power lasers; with a wave length around 632mm. eg: He-Ne, Diode) and Hard lasers: (Lasers with surgical application are called as hard lasers. Eg: CO2, Nd:YAG, Argon, Er:YAG) . The Principle of any laser emission mode is that, light energy strikes the tissue for a certain length of time producing thermal interaction. When laser strikes a tissue surface, it can be reflected, scattered, absorbed or transmitted. As the temperature within the target tissues increase, the following effects occur: Hyperthermia (37 – 500 c) , Coagulation and protein denaturation(60–700 c), Welding of tissues (70– 800 c), Vaporization, Ablation (100 – 1500 c), Carbonization (above 2000 c). Lasers find numerous applications in restorative dentistry and endodontics ranging from diagnosis, prevention of caries to antibacterial action in root canals.

The subject of dental laser safety is broad in scope, including not only an awareness of the potential risks and hazards related to how lasers are used, but also a recognition of existing standards of care and a thorough understanding of safety control measures. Laser have become a ray of hope in dentistry, when used efficaciously and ethically. Lasers are an exceptional modality of treatment for many clinical conditions that dentists treat on a daily basis. But lasers have never been the “magic wand” that many people have hoped for. It has got its own limitations.

However, the future of dental laser is bright with some of the newest ongoing researches. Once, our knowledge about optimal laser parameters for each treatment modality is complete, lasers can be developed that will provide dentists with the ability

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