Laser Surgery and the Types of Lasers Used in Dental Care

Posted on: July 15, 2017

Laser SurgeryLaser surgery has revolutionized many of the procedures that were once done by a dentist with a drill. Laser dentistry is a precise and effective way that allows us to perform many dental procedures with a very specific area of focus, without damaging any of the surrounding tissue. With the ability to control the power output as well as the level of exposure to the gum and tooth structure, laser dentistry is one of the most precise forms of dental treatment. In fact, patients who are anxious and seeking comfort, find that lasers provide a more comfortable and relaxing experience.

Types of lasers

When it comes to dentistry, there are two different types of lasers that are that we use in laser surgery. There are hard tissue lasers and soft tissue lasers. Each of these has a different function for different parts of the mouth.

Hard tissue lasers: Hard tissue lasers operate at a wavelength that is highly absorbable by the calcium, phosphate salts and water in the bone and teeth. This makes them extremely effective for cutting through the tooth structure. As a result, the primary use of hard tissue lasers is to cut into bone and teeth with an extreme degree of precision.

We often use these lasers in preparing the teeth for additional procedures, or shaping of the teeth when the patient requires a device like composite bonding. We also use lasers to remove small amounts of tooth structure or to repair some types of dental fillings.

Soft tissue lasers:  Like hard tissue lasers, soft tissue lasers also operate on a specific wavelength. Soft tissue lasers operate on a wavelength that is highly absorbable by hemoglobin and water which makes them much more effective in treating soft tissue. Soft tissue lasers are able to penetrate soft tissue, while simultaneously working to seal the blood vessels and nerve endings. It is for this reason that people will experience virtually no postoperative pain following laser surgery.

Soft laser tissues work to help the tissues to heal faster and are therefore effective in cosmetic dental surgeries as well as for procedures like gingival sculpting. Soft lasers also help with periodontal treatment because they have the ability to kill bacteria and activate the regrowth of gum tissue.

The LANAP protocol is the only laser gum disease treatment FDA cleared for True Regeneration. Simply put, the LANAP protocol can re-grow the tissues and bone lost to gum disease. Compared to traditional osseous surgery, patients say the LANAP protocol is:

  • Less painful
  • Less post-op sensitivity
  • Less gum loss (gum recession)
  • Very little downtime after treatment


Gently and effectively clear away the bacteria causing gum disease with laser energy. A laser fiber the width of three human hairs just might be the magic wand as it targets disease, but leaves health tissue intact.

LANAP = Laser Assisted Regeneration (LAR)

An FDA-cleared laser treatment called the LANAP protocol offers a less painful, more successful treatment alternative to conventional surgery. LANAP=LAR is the only scientifically, research proven methodology that results in true periodontal regeneration, new bone growth and gum tissue reattachment. LANAP and LAR is accomplished with the PerioLase MVP-7. It is a free-running, variable pulsed Nd:YAG laser. The 7 variable pulse durations can be thought of as “different lasers” in one device as they have discrete and discriminating tissue interactions. The LANAP=LAR treatment is one of the most successful protocols in treating gum disease because it can target the source of the inflammation without hurting or removing any healthy gum tissue, slow or stop attachment loss and decrease pocket depth, and allowing the body to recover from the chronic infection without the need for scalpel or sutures.

Discomfort and recovery

Anytime somebody has surgery they can expect two things, discomfort and a postoperative recovery. Luckily, for people who are getting laser surgery, the dental postoperative discomfort is going to be extremely minimal. In addition, because of the precision of the lasers, the other tissue that surrounds the surgical site, is not going to be damaged at all.

What this does, is allows the patient to recover much faster. Because of the minimal amount of discomfort, and the minimal amount of time necessary for recovery, laser dental surgery is one of the fastest-growing means of providing people with a fast, safe and minimally uncomfortable way to meet their dental surgical needs.

Learn more about your options by calling and scheduling an appointment with our office today.