Laser Dentistry - Is it Better Than Traditional Dentistry?

Laser Dentistry - Is it Better Than Traditional Dentistry?
By Lill Hawkins
Ezine Articles

enjoyed my trip to the dentist today. No, really, I did. I spent twenty minutes in the chair, getting my teeth cleaned with the aid of baking soda, betadine and a wee little laser. I admit that I was initially reluctant to let someone put something that can cut through steel into my mouth, but Dr. Kassa really knows his stuff. And this is from the viewpoint of someone who used to prefer extractions to fillings, because at least I got knocked out when I had teeth pulled.

When I was a child, I went to a dentist who actually had leather straps on the arms of his chair to restrain his young patients. By the time I was ten, I was so traumatized from having three fillings and two extractions without painkillers or novacaine that I started shaking whenever I saw a toothpaste commercial.

Except for having an impacted wisdom tooth extracted when I was in my twenties, I avoided dentists until our kids arrived, when I realized that I had to Set A Good Example. Sheesh! If I'd realized this, I might have remained childless. But because we did have kids and the only other option was being a horrible warning and that didn't appeal to my maternal instincts, I bit the bullet and went to the dentist that we took the kids to.

He was very reassuring, kept asking me if I felt any pain and did I need to take a break. He hadn't even put his gloves on at the time. I guess my apprehension showed. He soldiered on though, and managed to do an exam, which told me what I already knew - my teeth were in pretty bad shape. Then he turned me over to his hygienist, who spent an hour scraping my teeth.

Finally, when it was done, I breathed a sigh of relief until she told me that she'd only done a quadrant. There were still three quadrants to go.Not only that, but by the time she was done with the last quadrant, it'd be time to do the first one all over again. Then she added insult to injury by telling me that even this might not save my gums, which were not at all well and would probably need "deep scaling and planing". I didn't like the sounds of that! This was my reward for finally facing down my fear and submitting to these barbaric procedures?

I went twice more, but each time, my blood pressure went higher and higher and all I could think of while I was being worked on was the fact that my maternal grandmother had died from a stroke she suffered in the dentist's chair. I'm a strong believer in genetics as destiny, and I didn't want to go the way of Granny, so I started doing what I always do when faced with a dilemma. I started looking for alternatives on the Net. That's how I found Dr. Kassa.

Dr. Kassa has embraced the future. He has at least three lasers in his office and if there's a drill, I have yet to see it. He says my gums aren't as bad as I thought they were and gave me the equipment and knowledge to keep them from getting any worse. In addition to a really good electronic toothbrush, I use an irrigator with baking soda in the water to zap the little anaerobic bacteria that are trying to colonize my gums. Dr. Kassa is sound on anaerobes. He knows how to get at them with his lasers, which scraping doesn't do, and he knows how to show his patients how to get them with their toothbrush, baking soda and irrigator.

It amazes me that - in this day and age - people are still using these archaic and inneffective methods to practice dentistry. Would we put up with our doctor removing a splinter by digging it out with a knife? No, we expect that they'll use tweezers and a topical anesthetic if it's needed. If we break our arm, we're probably going to have something to say if the doctor goes outside, chops down a cherry tree and ties our arm to a straight piece of it.

Of course, laser dentistry is more expensive than the status quo, which is none too cheap, itself. However, if more dentists practiced laser dentistry and used baking soda and betadine and/or an ultrasonic cleaner instead of the usual manual method of gum cleaning, the price would come down pretty fast because of competition and a wider market for the training and equipment needed to practice this kind of craft.

The biggest upside to this would be that a large segment of the population - the "tied down for dental work as a child" contingent, for instance - would go to a dentist and head off serious oral problems, which could lengthen their lives. Oral inflammation can lead to heart problems and a host of other ailments, so nipping it in the bud is a really good idea.

If you live in Maine, you can go to Dr. Kassa, who practices in Bangor. If you live somewhere else, you can go to Preferred Consumers's Laser Dentistry Page and look for a local dentist who practices laser dentistry. If you have kids, it's important to get their first cavities treated with lasers instead of drills, because drills crack teeth and the resultant micro-fissures weaken even more over the years. Laser dentistry is very effective at eliminating dental problems and preventing them. I can't recommend it highly enough.

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