If you’ve ever been in a dentist’s office when a traditional drill is in use, you know how unnerving the sound can be. For those who experience dental anxiety, this sound can cut right to the bone and cause them to become acutely uncomfortable. In a number of instances, these patients may even be driven to leave the clinic, never receiving the care their teeth need. Modern innovations in dentistry may mean that this intimidating sound is a thing of the past. Laser dentistry is becoming the standard form of care at many clinics when a drill is called for. Faster, quieter, and nearly painless laser drills are changing dental care for everyone—especially those with dental anxiety.
How Laser Drills Are Changing Dentistry
The condition known as dental anxiety can be crippling in terms of patients receiving dental care. Classified as a phobia, this condition manifests as anxiety or fear that manifests when a visit to the dentist is considered. For some, the mere mention of a dental procedure is enough to make them acutely uncomfortable. For others, it can induce a near panic state that makes them incapable of receiving dental care. One of the most well-known triggers for those with dental anxiety is the high-pitched whine of a dental drill.
Thousands of dentists all over the country have started integrating laser drills into their practices. In most cases, it serves to completely replace the previous traditional drill and its incessant whine. But what exactly is a laser drill?
The first thing to know about a drill is that it doesn’t contain an abrasive bit or the motor that makes the familiar whining sound of a traditional drill. Instead, it contains components that emit a special beam of coherent light. This means that all the photons in the beam are moving in the same direction and are vibrating at the same frequency. The common term for these beams of light is a laser, and they make all the difference in how a laser drill operates. These beams make it possible for a laser drill to:
- Work nearly silently
- Be incredibly precise, removing only decayed or infected tissue
- Improve healing times by vaporizing and sealing the surgical site instantly
- Reduce the need for anesthetic due to pain-free operation
The drill isn’t entirely silent, and this winds up being a benefit for those with dental anxiety. Rather than a shrill, high-pitched sound, the laser drill emits a soft pulsing sound as it works. Many patients report that this sound is relaxing and comforting, actually easing their anxiety.
The Future Of Laser Dentistry
Every year sees new innovations in laser dentistry and new applications. In addition to addressing tooth decay and gingivitis, it’s also been found to be effective in dental whitening. Certain whitening procedures use bleach and abrasives to remove the discolored tissue from the dental surface. Inevitably, this also tends to include otherwise healthy tissue. The laser drill can precisely remove only the tissue that has become discolored. Ask your dentist how they use dental drills in their practice.