Laser Technology in Dentistry

July 11th, 2011
Laser Technology in Dentistry

Using lasers in dentistry seems rather science fiction-ish, but there are a number of US dentists who swear by it.

Still rare – only 6-8 per cent of dentists use laser techniques, but its use is becoming more and more prevalent and is mostly used for minor surgery such as gum contouring and treating small to moderately sized cavities.

At the moment, the use is limited while the cost of the equipment is high. However it is expected that as their use increases, the cost will reduce and laser use will become more varied.

Speaking with local reporters, one dentist, Dr. Richard Mungo who works as a paediatric dentist in California said: “Lasers are still a long way from replacing the dentist’s drill.”

The cost is also a little off putting for those having to pay. For instance, for soft tissue treatment the cost for a laser itself lies anywhere between $2,000 and $7,000 while for hard tissue lasers the costs can be anything up to $90,000. These figures will add to the high costs, which patients already have to pay for treatment. So it is understandable why few dentists so far are investing in laser technology.

Dr. Mungo said: “It is one more instrument in your office that can complement the use of the drill, in which you can offer your patients a more comfortable experience in many circumstances.”

The dentist himself though has been using lasers for the past 20 years. A colleague Dr. Indru Punwani, professor and department head of paediatric dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago believes that their time has come. He said: “Right now they are adjunctive, but down the line they could play a much greater role.”


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