Surgical Lasers & Wavelengths

Dr. Keith Phillips has completed numerous trainings in order to become proficient in the use of surgical laser technology. Surgical lasers harness photo-thermal energy, using heat as a way to cut into tissue.

Surgical Lasers 101:

  • Lasers are less invasive and more precise than other forms of surgery, and they generally require no stitches! This means less chance of any infection.
  • Lasers are so precise that they allow the removal of bacteria and damaged tissue without impacting the healthy surrounding tissues.
  • Lasers actually promote healthy cell growth and repair.

Dental lasers have four major wavelengths, each of which determines the type and amount of energy used. All four wavelengths—erbium, CO2, YAG, and diode—can be used as soft-tissue surgical devices.

Because erbium lasers generate short pulses primarily absorbed by water, they cause minimal tissue penetration, which is highly important for delicate oral tissue adjacent to hard bone and enamel. This type of laser has proven effective in decontaminating  tissue without damaging titanium posts, as well as in minimizing inflammation and necrosis (cell and tissue death), which ensures relatively quick healing even after cutting through bone. These remarkable qualities make erbium lasers highly desirable in treating any inflammation that may occur after implants.

Providing anesthesia-free restorative procedures for both hard and soft tissue, carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers have proven very positive experiences for patients. An all-tissue laser, the CO2 laser is also readily absorbed by water, and runs in a continuous gated wave pattern.

YAG lasers (as well as ER YAG, Er, Cr, and YSGG), unlike erbium lasers, penetrate much deeper into the tissue, and produce a much higher degree of heat. This requires the highest mastery of the surgical technique.

Diode lasers also penetrate deeply into the tissues, but run in gated waves, which allow for less relaxation of the thermal capabilities.

Laser Decay Detection: The Earliest Intervention

Laser decay detection is safe, quick, painless, and accurate. With a sensor that digitally measures the amount of light absorbed by a tooth, this device shows whether a tooth is healthy (reflecting light) or decaying (absorbing light).

Laser decay detection allows for earlier detection of decay on the tooth surface that may not be caught on an X-ray, and needs no metal dental instruments, which means no poking or prodding.

This laser analysis provides instant feedback on the health of the tooth and can detect decay in deep grooves that are virtually invisible to the eye or on an X-ray. Earlier detection of cavities enables your dentist to provide more efficient, less invasive corrective intervention and treatment that allows for maximum tooth preservation.

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