Advances in dental technology regularly produce new equipment and procedures which aim to make dental treatment more comfortable, efficient and effective. The dental laser is one such piece of equipment that has many applications and is a welcome part of modern dental practice.
Dr Ailin Teo is excited to introduce the AMD® Picasso diode laser into her practice, primarily for soft tissue surgery and periodontal (gum) treatments. She wants to tell you more about this technology so that you know what to expect.
What Is Soft Tissue Surgery?
Soft tissue surgery in the mouth usually involves removing or reshaping some of the soft tissues of the mouth. This might involve normal tissues of the mouth, including the gums and the mucosa which lines the entire oral cavity (cheeks, lips, tongue). Sometimes overgrown gum tissue, ulcers, fibromas or other “abnormal” soft tissues require surgical removal or reshaping.
A Common Example of Soft Tissue Surgery
A common example of soft tissue surgery is a procedure called an “operculectomy”.
The operculum is a flap of gum that partially covers a tooth as it emerges (erupts) through the gum. These usually don’t cause any trouble, but sometimes they become infected and swollen, making the entire area uncomfortable and inflamed. It’s common to see an inflamed operculum sitting over an impacted wisdom tooth.
An “operculectomy” is simply the surgical removal of this gum flap: it is cut off so that the remaining gum can heal and the wisdom tooth can be kept clean as it emerges into the mouth.
Traditionally, soft tissue surgery of this type has been done with scalpels, and bleeding has been controlled with stitches or electrosurgery (a heat-based cauterisation of the cut surface of the tissue).
What Are The Benefits Of Using Lasers In Soft Tissue Surgery?
With the introduction of lasers, minor soft tissue surgeries can be carried out without using scalpels or relying on stitches and electrocautery to control post-operative bleeding.
Lasers allow surgeries to be performed with greater precision. There is typically less bleeding and a lower incidence of post-operative discomfort and complications. This means that there is less down-time for the patient, and they can get back to normal activities more quickly. Laser surgery often gives more predictable surgical outcomes.
Can Dental Lasers Be Used For Other Purposes?
The Picasso laser has many uses:
- reshaping gums to improve their appearance or to improve access for cleaning
- control bleeding and trim excess gum tissue away from teeth waiting to receive dental crowns or bridges or fillings near the gumline
- treatment of aphthous and herpetic ulcers or lesions
- removal of fibromas and treatment of some other soft tissue lesions
- decontamination of root canals during root canal therapy
- assistance with tooth whitening
Will My Dental Treatment Involve A Laser?
It depends. Dr Teo may decide to use a laser for your treatment and will discuss this with you before she begins.
It is important to be aware that all surgery involves risks as well as benefits. You can expect that Dr Teo will explain these to you carefully before your treatment. You can also expect that your questions will be carefully answered and your request for additional information or time to contemplate your options will be honoured.
Need More Information About Dental Lasers?
You can read clinical articles about the Picasso Laser here.