Laser dentistry for kids is offering a new wave of pain-free treatments.
On average, a higher percentage of children go to the dentist than adults! Parents everywhere are doing their best to keep their kids’ mouths healthy and their teeth strong.
Some kids find the trip to the dentist’s office stressful. Perhaps they’ve experienced pain or anxiety in the past or maybe they just don’t like the noises that dentistry tools make!
With laser dentistry for kids, a lot of those fears are alleviated. Dentists who offer laser dentistry can provide a number of treatments in a new way that can change the way your kids feel about their biannual appointments.
Read on to find out more about laser dentistry for kids, how it can help, and what techniques are used.
Benefits of Laser Dentistry for Kids
Before we get into the techniques used in laser dentistry, let’s talk about some of the ways that laser dentistry can benefit your kids. Laser dentistry can increase comfort, reduce anxiety, speed up healing, and more.
Note that laser dentistry is used for procedures that go beyond your standard tooth cleaning. This is great news because even kids who have become accustomed to a simple tooth cleaning may feel nervous at the idea of a more involved or invasive procedure.
Increases Comfort and Reduces Anxiety
Laser dentistry is less invasive than many traditional forms of dentistry. In fact, many of the procedures performed with lasers are so painless that patients don’t require any anesthesia at all! For some young patients, the ability to see what’s going on and communicate with their dentist and hygienists can vastly increase their comfort.
In addition, lasers don’t make loud noises or create the grinding sensation that some traditional dentistry tools do. Even if a procedure isn’t causing physical pain, those sounds and sensations can create anxiety in young patients. This is especially the case for kids who have sensory disorders or feel particularly overwhelmed by their senses.
In other words, laser dentistry could be the perfect solution for children with special needs who find dental appointments stressful or scary!
Speeds up Healing in Soft Tissues and Reduces Bleeding
Using lasers in dental treatment reduces the amount of time dentists need to poke around the gums with sharp or pointed tools.
Our gums are comprised of soft tissues that are tightly bound to the bone underneath. They protect our teeth and prevent the friction of chewing or tooth grinding from damaging the jaw bone. The less we poke and prod at this soft tissue, the less it will bleed or swell during and after the procedure.
Plus, soft tissues are sensitive to issues such as abrasions and gum disease. Unfortunately, treating sensitive gums with traditional dental tools comes with a catch-22! Some of these tools can actually cause abrasions (yucky, painful cuts) that lead to an increased risk of infection.
Because laser dentistry is not an invasive procedure, your kid’s gums won’t undergo as much stress. Plus, lasers actually clean the areas that they’re used to treat, which means you can say, “See ya later, infections!”
Overall, soft tissue treated with lasers heals faster and better than soft tissue treated with traditional tools.
They’re just plain cool!
Did you know that “LASER” is actually an acronym? That’s right! “LASER” stands for “light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation.”
That’s a fancy, scientific way of describing the energy that comes from narrow, focused beams of light. Sometimes we like to pretend that dentists who use lasers are like the good guys in Star Wars using their lightsabers to defeat evil gum and teeth problems!
Kids tend to enjoy participating in laser dentistry. There’s something very cool about donning protective sunglasses and watching lasers knock out tooth decay, overgrown gums, and more!
Laser Dentistry Techniques
As a parent with a dentist-fearing child, you may be thinking, “Sign me up for laser dentistry!” It’s important to note that laser dentistry can’t replace all forms of traditional dentistry. For example, we’ll still need to use that little spinning toothbrush and floss to clean your child’s teeth!
To get a better sense of what laser dentistry is, let’s look at the different oral health problems that lasers can treat.
Hard Tissue Treatment
Hard tissue treatment refers to the work dentists do on teeth, themselves.
Laser dentistry can help dentists detect cavities. Lasers can be used to spot areas of tooth decay which means that in some cases you may be able to reverse the early development of cavities or treat them before they get too bad.
On top of detection, lasers can prepare teeth for fillings or other decay-related treatments. Rather than drilling, dentists can use lasers to clear out the decay to make room for new, healthy fillings.
Finally, lasers can reverse tooth sensitivity. Teeth that are sensitive to heat or cold are often rotting. Lasers can seal the tubules that are created by rot and eliminate sensitivity.
Soft Tissue Treatment
As we mentioned earlier, our gums are made of soft tissue.
Some kids have what we call a “gummy smile.” Lasers can alter or reshape the gum line so that you see pearly whites rather than pink gums when your child cracks a smile.
Dentists often hear from mothers whose babies are having trouble breastfeeding or whose children have a speech impediment. This is often due to frenulum attachment.
The frenulum is the skin under the tongue that attaches it to the bottom of the mouth. When a frenulum is too thick or tight, it alters normal mouth use and ability. Lasers can reduce the frenulum, freeing up the tongue to operate as normal.
Finding a Pediatric Dentist Who Uses Laser Dentistry
If you’re in search of a pediatric dentist who will ease your child’s dentist anxieties, look for one who offers laser dentistry for kids.
At Spinnaker Pediatric Dentist, we provide laser dentistry for kids in the Salem, Oregon area. Ready to set up an appointment? Contact us today.