As Missoula’s Top Rated Local® family dentist, one aspect that sets Bitterroot Dental apart is our laser dentistry. Our goal as a family dentist is to make your dental experience as comfortable as possible, and in order to do so, Dr. David B. Duke performs all dental procedures in a manner that will generate minimal pain and minimize the anxious feeling many people experience when visiting a dental clinic.
Superior Laser Dentistry
One of the most appealing aspects of laser dentistry is that it allows Dr. Duke to use lasers instead of a scalpel or drill during your visit to our dental office. Not only will you not have to experience the traditional pain created by needles and scrapes, you will also be immediately ready to eat, talk, and smile because there is no need for anesthesia. Additionally, laser dentistry appointments are often much quicker.
Continue reading below for a more indepth explanation of our laser dentistry procedures, or schedule an appointment today!
No Shot, No Drill Laser Dentistry
It’s no secret; for many a visit to the dentist is terrifying. For others, it’s just unpleasant. Imagine getting your dentistry performed with fewer or no shots and less pain afterwards. At Bitterroot Dental, we are dedicated to providing each patient the most comfortable, painless and affordable treatment available. In our office, we have embraced laser technology because it gives great results and patients rave about how much better their experience is. As Missoula’s leading laser dentist, Dr. Duke has many types of lasers available to choose from. This allows Dr. Duke to choose the easiest and most painless procedure to address your dental needs and improve your oral health.
Lasers are light emitting devices. This light interacts with teeth, gums and bone. The energy in the light is able to replace the work the dreaded drill or scalpel used to do. In most cases, we are able to perform simple dental procedures, such as fillings, without using a needle. Here are some of the advantages of laser dentistry;
- No high-pitched drill sound
- No droopy lip or face
- You will be able to talk normally afterwards (no slurred speech)
- You can eat immediately
- No anesthesia for your body to get rid of
- More accurate and comfortable bites when you aren’t numb
- Quicker appointments in some cases
- No heat and no vibrations on the tooth
- Little or no bleeding
- Faster healing times
- Less trauma, so less pain and swelling afterwards
- Fewer complications
While laser dentistry provides most patients with a shot free visit, it doesn’t work for everyone. Dr. Duke will do everything possible to surpass your expectations. In many offices, laser dentistry is far more expensive. We believe differently. Whether you choose conventional methods or the laser, it will cost the same. So what are you waiting for?
If your dentist is still using a drill and scalpel then consider coming by to experience a healthier and more comfortable way to visit the dentist! We know you’ll love our lasers.
How Do Lasers Work?
There are many types of dental lasers. At Bitterroot Dental, we use more than one type of laser. We always select the best laser for you, depending on what you need. The two main lasers we use are the Waterlase and a diode laser. All lasers use light to perform a task. Different wavelengths of laser light allow lasers to work differently.
Waterlase technology utilizes Hydrokinetics to perform a variety of dental procedures. The light wavelengths used by the Waterlase iPlus interact with water molecules. Water molecules absorb the light energy. This excites the water molecules inside the target tissue (gum, tooth, or bone) and causes a biological micro-ablation of the tissue. The atomized spray of water and air from the laser continually re-hydrates the tooth, preventing heat and pain.
Due to the unique way the Waterlase laser works, it is able to fly under the body’s “pain radar.” Depending on the type of tissue, Dr. Duke can select the appropriate amount of light energy needed to achieve the most comfortable result. Necessary adjustments can be made easily on a touch screen.
The wavelengths of light emitted from a diode laser are ideally suited for soft tissue procedures due to the high absorption by hemoglobin and melanin in the tissues. The diode laser works when tissue pigmentation absorbs the laser light energy and causes a precise cut and coagulation of the target tissue, with less trauma than a scalpel. This leads to less post-operative pain and faster healing times.
When lower levels of energy are used, the diode will have an antibacterial effect instead of a cutting effect. This light energy can be used to eliminate harmful bacteria or reduce pain.
Can a laser be used to fix your problem?
Lasers can be used for a variety of treatments. Since our office has different wavelengths of lasers, there are very few things we cannot use a laser to do. Below is a list of the most common procedures we use our lasers for. Many of these procedures can be performed without numbing you with a needle. Most of these procedures are explained in the “Our Services” section on our website.
- Fillings of all sizes
- Removing stains
- Tooth desensitization
- Bacterial reduction of the gums
- Periodontal gum therapy
- Removal of infected gum tissue
- Removal of growths or lesions
- Exposure of unerupted teeth (to help them erupt or for orthodontic movement)
- Controlling bleeding (hemostasis)
- Gingival recontouring’
- Removing overgrown gum tissue (in order to complete work, after orthodontics or due to medications)
- Uncovering implants following surgery
- Treatment of peri-implantitis (failing implants)
- Treatment of abcesses
- Treatment of dry socket infections
- Cleaning of infected bone after an extraction
- Root canal sterilization
- Treatment of canker sores & herpetic lesions
- Pain relief treatment of wounds in the mouth or denture sores
- Crown lengthening
- Reshaping of the bone
- Safe removal of a veneer or porcelain crown
- Treatment of hairy tongue
Are Lasers safe?
Yes. Each laser used in our office has been approved for dental use by the FDA. Because lasers are pinpoint accurate, they have no effect on surrounding tissues. Dental lasers are unlike lasers in movies, such as Star Wars. Even when a patient moves, the laser will not cause harm.
Do I have to have a laser used?
No, you can choose not to have a laser used for any procedure.
Will I feel things while you use the laser?
Yes and no. If you have been numbed using local anesthetic, you will not feel the laser working. However, if we are performing a procedure without numbing you, we expect you to feel things. For example, the laser sprays water and we use suction to remove the water; many patients tell us they feel an intermittent cold (but not painful) sensation while we work. Some procedures are more likely to need numbing than others, and patients with sensitive teeth or deep cavities are more likely to feel more if they are not numbed. At any point during a procedure, you can always be numbed if you are too uncomfortable.
Is it guaranteed I will not need to be numbed?
No. Some procedures cannot be performed with a laser. Some patients have more sensitive teeth than others. While most patients are able to have more simple procedures such as fillings done without being numbed, a small number of patients will have sensitivity that requires numbing.
Can I have everything done with a laser?
No. While we can use lasers during most procedures, there are procedures that cannot be performed with a laser. For example, we cannot remove a tooth or do a root canal with a laser. We can however use the laser during the root canal to eliminate bacteria within the roots. Or we can use the laser to clean the socket from bacteria after removing the tooth. Ask us if you want to know if a laser can be used for your treatment.
How will having a laser used on me benefit me?
For a more thorough listing of the benefits of a laser, visit our “Benefits of Lasers.” Briefly, lasers eliminate bacteria and trauma, cause less damage than drills and scalpels, and stimulate regrowth and healing. Healing time and post-operative pain are reduced.
Can lasers be used on kids?
Absolutely! Kids respond very well to the use of “Clifford the Big Red Laser.” Using the laser has dramatically improved the experience kids have in our office.
Will my insurance carrier cover the use of a laser?
Insurance carriers reimburse for a certain procedure, not the device used to perform it. Therefore, whether Dr. Duke uses the laser or more traditional treatments, your reimbursement will be the same for that specific procedure. Before undergoing any procedure, always consult your insurance carrier to determine what procedures are covered in your plan, and what the rate is.
Does using a laser cost more than traditional dentistry?
Laser treatment is generally no more expensive that traditional dentistry. A laser filling costs the same whether a laser or drill is used. But if you choose to have Laser Bacterial Reduction at your cleaning appointment, then the use of the laser will be an additional cost because it is being added to a “regular” cleaning. As a rule, if a laser is being added to traditional procedure, it will be an extra cost. If we are simply using the laser to perform the same procedure in a better way, there is no additional cost. In our office, you will always be given the choice and the cost of any procedure, laser involved or not, before the work will be done. You can choose not to have a laser used for any procedure.