One of our most popular treatments for small to medium sized cavities are Laser Dental Fillings. These are much better than standard mercury amalgam or composite fillings, for many reasons.
When a hard-tissue laser is used to vaporize the decay in the tooth, it targets only the decayed tooth structure and leaves the surrounding healthy tooth structure alone. A drill doesn’t do that. The standard dental drill goes in and damages the healthy tooth structure around the cavity, through the heat and vibration it produces. The drill causes microscopic fractures in the crystalline structure of the tooth enamel, which may allow other infectious agents to enter in inner structure of the tooth, almost guarantying that the tooth will need more drastic treatments later in life.
In the laser dental filling procedure, the laser bonds the biocompatible, tooth-like filling compound directly to the tooth structure so that an unnecessarily large opening for filling material doesn’t need to be drilled. For a standard amalgam filling, large areas of healthy tissue around the cavity must be drilled away so that there enough of a “wedge” to hold the filling in place. Mercury amalgam fillings have no natural adhesion, so this must be done to keep the filling from falling out. However, the process of drilling and wedging this amalgam into the tooth distorts and weakens the remaining tooth structure, eventually causing that tooth to crack and leak. The amalgam itself may crack and leak, and these leaks allow infectious agents into the inner part of the tooth, almost guaranteeing that it will need a root canal or even more drastic treatments later in life.
Petroleum-based composite fillings also do not bond to the tooth, and are not hard enough to stand up to the punishment of biting and chewing day after day, week after week, year after year. They almost always fail, with few exceptions.
The dental laser can sterilize and disinfect the surrounding tissue of the tooth, without having to employ the toxic, environmentally-unfriendly chemicals and compounds that are normally used. The properties of the laser light itself are such that it is reflected and absorbed by all of the inner surfaces of the tooth, and nothing in or on those surfaces can escape it. Chemicals cannot achieve that level of disinfection.
The bonding properties of the dental laser fuse the tooth-like restorative material directly to the tooth, making it become one with the tooth. This may actually restore the tooth to its original strength, or even greater. There is virtually very little or no chance of leakage or failure as there is with amalgam or composite fillings.
And finally, the laser dental filling process is much more patient-friendly. Not having to use a drill, and in many cases, not having to use anesthetic, greatly reduces patient anxiety and stress. It can be done more efficiently than a standard filling, even reducing “chair time” in cases with minor cavities.