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Laser Dentistry

Dentist with dental laser in hand.Dental Laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) technology is a wonderful tool for dentists, and for their patients. It has been used in various types of medical procedures since 1994. Lasers work by directing energy in the form of a light. We are able to use dental lasers for surgical and dental procedures. It acts as both a cutting instrument and a vaporizer of tissue. We frequently use it for "curing" a filling, which helps to strengthen the bond between the filling and the tooth.

Dental LaserThe advent of lasers has helped us to expand dental procedures into the non-invasive realm. Beams of light can repair many of the problems that required knives and picks in the past. Learn more about our laser procedures below:

Periolase™ Gum Treatment

We have added the amazing Periolase™ MVP-7 to our practice. Laser Periodontal Therapy™ is a laser-based technique for the treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. This FDA approved procedure can regenerate lost gum and bone attachment to teeth in a gentle way with much less discomfort than traditional scalpel based treatment. If you have been told you need scalpel and suture gum surgery, there's a laser alternative you need to learn about. We are the only office in Southwest Washington to offer this procedure, which increases the chance of keeping your teeth.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Calcium deposits contain bacteria which infect the gums. In early stages, this is called gingivitis, characterized by swollen, red gums that bleed when you brush. You may experience bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth as well. Gingivitis progresses to Periodontitis when unchecked, a much more serious form of the disease, where periodontal pockets are formed, separating teeth from the gums and supporting bone structure. Without treatment, the pockets deepen; infection becomes more severe, resulting in tooth loss.

Periodontal Treatment

To repair the damage is to get rid of the infection and close up the pockets. A tiny laser fiber (about the thickness of three hairs) is inserted between the tooth and the gum, and the infection is cleared away. The procedure is fast: It takes just two 2-hour sessions. Dr. Snodgrass will treat one half of your mouth at each session, and many feel good enough to go right back to work afterwards.

Until now, that meant surgery and sutures. But today, many dentists, including Dr. Alan Snodgrass in Southwest Washington, offer the LANAP® Protocol, a patient-friendly, minimally-invasive laser gum treatment. This procedure is a great improvement over standard gum surgery. Periolase is the first FDA-approved non-surgical periodontal therapy available. Call us at (360) 514-9212 for a complimentary Periolase consultation and give yourself a reason to smile.

Diagnodent™ Laser Cavity Detection

Tooth decay is a serious issue, and if it is not detected and treated, it can affect the outside and inside layers of your tooth. This dental issue is known as a cavity. In a perfect world, Dr. Snodgrass could detect every issue affecting your teeth with just one look. This is not a perfect world, so he needs assistance to make sure those areas that he did not detect any cavities in, are truly cavity-free. This is possible because of Diagnodent™ laser cavity discovery. The world may not be perfect, but that does not mean your smile cannot be.

Diagnodent™ Technology

The Diagnodent™ procedure is safe, and it is painless. A laser diode inspects your teeth for us. The laser is inserted into your mouth and aimed at your teeth. We will first aim the laser at a healthy tooth, so we have something to compare the damaged tooth to. If there are any damaged teeth, the wavelengths will be different, and we will hear a beeping sound that alerts us that the suspected area is in fact damaged. The reading levels will tell us how much damage has taken place. For instance, if the level is 21 – 100, we know that significant treatment will need to be done to your teeth.

These areas are undetectable by a dentist without the Diagnodent™ laser. The laser is in the shape of a pen, and Dr. Snodgrass will place it over your teeth. This process does not cause any pain to your teeth.

Studies have found that the Diagnodent™ Laser Cavity Detecting System is more accurate than an explorer to find hidden cavities in the grooves of teeth. The human eye, a dental explorer or even radio-graphs cannot detect many forms of hidden cavities until they have damaged the tooth. By detecting decay at its earliest stage we can treat the infected tooth, preventing loss of vital structure or loss of the tooth. This will also help us verify that a merely stained groove is healthy - and not in need of treatment. Best of all, the Diagnodent™ Laser uses no x-radiation, only a small light similar to a laser pointer. The Diagnodent™ has been awarded the seal of acceptance by the American Dental Association.

Laser Canker Sore Treatment

Canker Sores, or Aphthous stomatitis, are common. Most people will experience their pain. At Thurston Oaks Dental, Dr. Snodgrass can help reduce this pain and induce healing with the use of a laser.

What are Canker Sores?

Canker sores are small, shallow ulcers that can be painful. They can be caused by a variety of things, though their exact cause is unknown. Some can be caused by stress or injury and certain foods including citrus or acidic fruits (such as oranges, lemons, pineapples, tomatoes, apples, figs, and strawberries), have been attributed to triggering a canker sore. Sometimes a sharp tooth or even dental work, like braces or ill-fitting dentures, may trigger canker sores. Even body triggers such as an allergy or menstrual cycle (due to hormones) can induce them.

Laser Treatment for Canker Sores

Laser for Canker Sore TreatmentUsing a diode laser stops the discomfort of apthous ulcers, or canker sores, in their tracks. By using this laser treatment, Dr. Snodgrass is able to seal the nerve endings, giving you immediate relief from burning or pain. Additionally, it encourages quicker healing. This laser does not cause discomfort for the patient, it is not a freezing technique, but a warmth on the site. The sore is treated until it is no longer sore, we will ask you about your pain level as it decreases, it is how we know that the healing has begun. You should feel significantly better by the next day.




Thurston Oaks Dental
4305 NE Thurston Way
Suite 101
Vancouver, WA 98662

Phone: (360) 514-9212

 

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