The use of LASERS to treat orofacial ailments has tremendously gained impetus over the past few years. LASERS are found useful in in almost all aspects of dental care. from treating gingival (or gum) disorders to tooth hypersensitivity, from tooth whitening to reducing pain during the course of the treatment, lasers are omnipresent. However, like so many other myths, LASER myths are also widespread among the dental patients. The aim of this article, therefore is to bust these myths associated with the LASER.
MYTH 1: LASERS are expensive and unaffordable.
FACT 1: The LASER may cost on an average, from INR 10,000 to INR 15,000, depending on the amount of the treatment offered. comparing its cost to benefit ratio, the benefits outweigh the cost factor (painless process, faster healing rates, bloodless treatment procedures to name a few).
MYTH 2: LASERS are slow in action and hence, not a good option for treatment.
FACT 2: The commonest cause of dental fear among the patients is anxiety associated with the noise and vibrations produced by the dental handpick (or the drill). LASERS work by interacting with the water and the organic contents of the dental tissues. The tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and is composed of very little water and organic substances. Due to the death of these, LASER enabled cutting through enamel is 3.5 times slow compared with the drill. However, there is no perception of noise or vibrations with the use of LASERS. It has been observed that the average noise produced by the drill is approx. 83.3 dB whereas, LASERS produce a noise of not more than 62.5 dB. Although slow in action, they provide a very compliant mode of treatment for even the most anxious dental patients.
MYTH 3: LASERS produce pain
FACT 3: LASER act by a process termed as Photobiostimulation, which means they interact with the tissues and produce light and heat which brings about the required action. the currently available low level LASETR therapy (LLLT), also called as the cold laser, does not raise the temperature of the tissues, rather exerts its action only by means of light energy. Anaesthesia is mostly not requires in procedures performed by LASERS, however, some patients prefer it solely for the purpose of reducing the anxiety.
MYTH 4: Can LASERS expose to radiations causing cancer?
FACT 4: LASERS use amplified light that is focussed on the target area. there is no use of ionising radiations, that might predispose to a cancerous condition. having said this, there are certain precautions that need to be taken when working with LASERS. Retinal burns have been reported to occur with the direct viewing of the LASER light and therefore there are regulations by the PPE works regulation HMSO – 1992 and the British standards BSI – 2010 which govern the standards of the protective eyewear for the operator and the patient during the procedure.
LASER technology that has currently gained much acceptance and momentum, has its roots to the ancient greek era where Heliotherapy, that is, exposure of the body to sun was practiced to cure many ailments.