Dental Laser: Advantages in Pediatric Dentistry

A dental laser is a tool that favors certain pediatric dentistry treatments. We'll tell you about the benefits of this technology in children's mouths.
Dental Laser: Advantages in Pediatric Dentistry
Vanesa Evangelina Buffa

Reviewed and approved by the dentist Vanesa Evangelina Buffa.

Last update: 03 October, 2023

For children, and sometimes also for adults, visiting the dentist is a time of tension, fear, and stress. You should know that thanks to technological advances, it’s now possible to use a dental laser in various pediatric dentistry treatments. This considerably improves the consultation experience.

Visiting the dentist from an early age and on a regular basis is essential to keeping children’s mouths healthy. For your child to feel comfortable and at ease with these visits, the pediatric dentist must generate confidence and security. The use of lasers not only facilitates the procedure but also promotes a sense of well-being and comfort for the child. Keep reading and we’ll tell you more about this new approach to treatment and its many advantages.

Dental laser in pediatric dentistry: What is it?

The use of lasers has become popular in various fields of medicine, such as ophthalmology, gynecology, surgery, dermatology, and esthetic treatments. In dentistry, it’s gaining more and more ground thanks to the advantages it offers and because it’s possible to use it on children.

To better understand what this tool is all about, you should know that the term laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Therefore, this technology makes it possible to concentrate many beams of light on a single point, whose power can be regulated. In dentistry, it’s a beam of light that travels through the optical fiber and is directed toward the tissues to be treated or eliminated.

There are different techniques when using this instrument. It’s important to distinguish between two main groups:

  • High power or surgical lasers: These have a thermal effect, as they concentrate a large amount of energy in a very small area. They achieve a great capacity for the cutting, coagulation, and vaporization of tissues.
  • Low-power, therapeutic, or soft lasers: These lack thermal effects and their action surface is larger, so they’re not used for surgery. Their effects include cell biostimulation, tissue regeneration, accelerated healing, and pain relief.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes the judicious use of lasers as a beneficial tool in the dental care of infants, children, and adolescents, including those with special health care needs.

A machine shining a bright blue light on a girl's teeth while she sits in a dentist chair.
The use of a dental laser allows dentists to achieve the rapid detection of cavities or even prevent their appearance, as its application on the enamel achieves a photochemical effect.

The uses of dental laser in pediatric dentistry

Dental laser simplifies care and achieves good results in the treatment of several common diseases in the mouth of children. In addition, as it’s silent and painless, it provides comfort and safety for little ones.

It’ll always be the pediatric dentist who determines the best way to approach each case. In any case, there are several situations that merit its use. Here are the most frequent ones:

  • The early diagnosis of cavities.
  • The prevention of cavities: The application of dental laser on enamel achieves a photochemical effect that stimulates mineral exchange and achieves remineralization when combined with fluoride.
  • The management of trauma: Blows to the teeth are frequent in childhood. Dental laser can be used as an adjuvant to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Dental sensitivity: Exposed dentin causes discomfort when eating hot or cold food. The therapeutic laser has an analgesic effect and stimulates the formation of reparative dentin.
  • Herpes labialis: Herpes simplex infection of the lips is quite common in children and adolescents. Dental laser is applied in the prodromal periods (when the patient feels that the lesions are about to appear) to accelerate the process and reduce the duration of the symptoms to 2 or 3 days.
  • Aphthous ulcers: A laser can be applied on mouth sores and ulcerations to reduce pain and stimulate healing.
  • Gingivitis: When complemented with proper oral hygiene, the laser helps to reduce gum inflammation.
  • Orthodontics: In this case, it can be used to reduce the discomfort caused by orthodontic forces on the teeth, especially at the beginning of treatment and after readjustments.
  • Surgery: The use of lasers in surgical maneuvers increases precision, shortens time, promotes healing, and reduces postoperative discomfort. This makes surgery more comfortable for the patient.

The advantages of using dental lasers in pediatric dentistry

The use of dental lasers in pediatric dentistry has many advantages, both for the child and for the dentist. These are the most outstanding ones:

  • Their application is silent. Therefore, annoying or disturbing noises and vibrations are avoided.
  • In many cases, pain is avoided and the need for anesthetic injections is prevented.
  • They can remove diseased tooth tissue.
  • In the treatment of cavities, they only remove the damaged tissue and help to preserve the healthy tooth.
  • They help the patient to be more relaxed and comfortable during procedures.
  • It prepares tooth surfaces and improves the adhesion of restorative materials.
  • The areas where the laser is applied are decontaminated, thus reducing the risk of recurrent cavities.
  • They’re quick to apply. This allows some treatments to be performed in a single visit.
  • In surgeries, the use of lasers eliminates bleeding and improves visibility.
  • They allow faster healing with less pain, discomfort, and inflammation.
  • They’re useful in allergic patients or in those who can’t use anesthesia due to health problems.
A little girl sitting in a dentist's chair covering her mouth with both hands.
Laser treatment is ideal for those children who are more fearful of dental interventions, as there’s no noise or vibrations. In this way, the child is more comfortable and relaxed.

The contraindications of dental laser in children

Although the side effects of dental laser are rare, some pain may appear after the first application. Occasionally, it can also cause drowsiness and dizziness. Please note that prolonged irradiation with therapeutic lasers is contraindicated in children with thyroid gland disorders, photosensitive skin, or epilepsy. It’s also not advisable to apply this tool in cases of bacterial infections without prior antibiotic coverage.

The use of dental laser allows children to feel more relaxed

It’s common for children to reject dental procedures due to fear or discomfort. The use of dental lasers is a new resource in pediatric dentistry to increase children’s acceptance of oral interventions. It’ll always be the dentist who’ll propose the best treatment alternatives for each child according to their needs. But now, with dental laser, you know that the speed, the silence, and the absence of pain will surely help your child feel calmer, more confident, and more relaxed in the dentist’s chair.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.