Laser Dentistry

LVI-Trained Dentist Serving Oakton, Vienna, McLean and Nearby Northern Virginia

Dr. Michael Chung shows a patient a dental mold during a consultation

Use of lasers has transformed not only dentistry, but the entire medical world. Lasers have many enormous benefits, and there are a great many types of laser, each devised for a specific purpose.

At Softouch Dental Care in Oakton, we use lasers in cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry procedures We have both a soft tissue laser and a hard tissue laser. Our dentist uses them to:

  • Reshape teeth
  • Reshape gums
  • Remove tooth decay and bacteria
  • Prevent infection in root canals
  • Whiten teeth
  • Remove lesions

Advantages of a Dental Laser

All laser dentistry is fast, precise, quiet, and virtually painless. You will have little or no bleeding because the laser seals tissue as it works on it. Because there is so little trauma to the body, you will have a fast recovery period. No infection will develop afterwards because the laser kills micro-organisms in the treatment area as it works. Because laser dentistry is so precise, only the exact treatment area will be affected, and nothing beyond it.

If, for instance, you have laser gum recontouring, the soft-tissue laser will vaporize tiny pieces of gum tissue according to a pre-determined plan. This will bring more of each tooth into view, so that your smile will look more full and youthful. The teeth were not too short after all; just covered by gums.

You can walk out of our office after that treatment and resume normal activities immediately. In past years, such cosmetic work was done with a scalpel and would have required pain medication and downtime from work and daily routines.

In addition, another benefit of laser dentistry is that it cauterizes while it treats. No infection will develop after treatment as the laser kills micro-organisms in the treatment area while it works. This can be especially beneficial during root canal procedures to eliminate bacteria as we remove infected tooth pulp. 

What Is a Laser?

A laser is a man-made device which delivers energy in the form of light. The light is not scattered, like ordinary incandescent light or car headlights. It travels in parallel beams and can be focused with extraordinary precision. Each laser vibrates at a specific wavelength, which corresponds to a color. Some are easily visible, such as the red laser in a classroom pointer. Some are invisible, vibrating at levels beyond our range of vision, and are classified as infrared or ultraviolet lasers.

All lasers generate heat, although some are referred to as “cool”, being relatively cool. There are various ways of cooling a laser beam to prevent it burning tissue. When a laser is used for surgical or dental work, it acts as a cutting instrument far more precise than any blade. It vaporizes the tissue it touches. The lasers used on human tissue are of course subtle and gentle.

Laser Dentistry Candidates

Laser dentistry is a safe and effective option for both adult and pediatric patients. Age is not as much of a deciding factor compared to things like a person’s oral health and dental conditions. 

In fact, many dentists favor laser dentistry over the leading alternatives when treating young patients. It can often result in better experiences and improved outcomes. However, a consultation visit is necessary to determine which type of treatment will be the most appropriate.

Are There Any Risks to Laser Dentistry?

A great thing about laser dentistry is that it is relatively low-risk. After all, laser dentistry can minimize bleeding, sterilize the treatment area, boost wound healing, and cause less damage than other treatment methods. However, it is important to find a qualified dental provider. Using an improper technique or the wrong settings on the laser device could result in tissue damage.

Is Laser Dentistry More Expensive?

Laser dentistry is not always more expensive than procedures using traditional dental tools. In some cases, using a laser is more affordable because the treatment can be completed in fewer office visits. But in other cases, using a laser can increase the total cost of the dental service.

Keep in mind that laser dentistry offers benefits that are hard to put a price tag on. These benefits may include improved comfort during treatment and a shorter recovery period. If treatment costs are preventing you from getting laser dentistry, explore our financing options. 

Our Use of Lasers in Dentistry

When Dr. Chung uses the laser for your procedure, he is in complete control. He can set it according to the particular treatment he is doing, and, since dental lasers have a very narrow beam, he can direct it to tiny crevices which might otherwise be hard to reach.

You might still need some local anesthetic, depending on what is being done, but not necessarily. A laser can be set to penetrate tissue at a given microscopic depth, and this can keep it away from any nerves or blood vessels.

In removing tooth decay, the laser will leave more healthy tooth tissue in place than traditional drilling. If you would normally feel your discomfort rising at the sound of a dental drill, the laser will leave you calm and relaxed.

If you have some small mismatching between upper and lower teeth which doesn’t require use of dental crowns or even dental bonding to correct, a hard tissue laser can quickly remove tiny fragments of tooth to make your bite more smooth and comfortable.

Can Dental Lasers Remove Old Fillings?

There are a variety of tools and techniques that can remove old fillings. Options include dental drills and air abrasion technology. Sometimes, a dental laser can be used to remove damaged or outdated filling materials. This method is precise and may eliminate the need for anesthesia.

However, there are also certain circumstances where removing old fillings with a dental laser is not recommended. Instead, it is much more common to prepare a tooth for dental fillings using a laser. Talk to our dentist to learn what type of treatment makes sense for your unique situation.

Recovery following the Laser Procedure

Laser dentistry is associated with a quicker recovery than similar non-laser procedures. It decreases the need for sutures, minimizes the risk of infections, protects more of the surrounding tissue, and allows the tissue to regenerate faster, to name a few of the benefits.

Some laser procedures will require a few days of healing, while others may call for a week or longer. It largely depends on the extent of the work that is being done. Dr. Chung will explain what you can expect after your specific laser treatment or procedure during your consultation.

Focused on Your Safety and Comfort

In these days of advanced dental technology, there is little objective reason to fear visiting your dentist. But if you are a person who particularly dreads seeing the dentist, please be assured that we understand your anxiety, and we offer sedation dentistry to help you feel more relaxed and comfortable.

Schedule a Client Consultation in Oakton, VA

Please call 703-319-6990 or email Softouch Dental Care to arrange your initial consultation. Our friendly dental team will answer all of your questions. We feel confident that you will enjoy our comfortable and friendly facilities, and we hope to work with you soon. Our laser dentist serves Oakton, Vienna, McLean, Great Falls, Tysons Corner, Reston, Herndon, Fairfax, Falls Church, Chantilly, Centreville, Arlington, and Washington D.C. areas of Northern Virginia.