Lasers in dentistry
 
Recently we have seen an increased number of questions about lasers in dentistry. Lasers have been on the margins of dental practice for over four decades. A New York Times article stated "lasers work essentially by burning and thus are inappropriate in some applications -- routine dentistry, for one."
 
In January 2015, the respected publication "Clinicians Report" wrote up the results of tests on the four lasers being sold to dentists. The laser companies claimed that:

1. gums healed faster than with conventional deep cleaning
2. sterilized pockets
3. resolved bleeding 
4. could be used without freezing  
5. resulted in increased regeneration of bone loss. 
 
NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THE CLAIMS COULD BE CONFIRMED!
 
So, why do some dentists (about 2%) use them? We cannot answer that question. A while ago we did use one for about a month. We did more damage than good for our patients so we stopped.
 


Root canal treatment of a tooth plus crown (cap) which is recommended afterwards can approach the cost of a used car. Placing crowns on all teeth, sometimes desirable for maximum aesthetics, function and health, can cost as much as a mid-range new car. A mouthful of implant-supported teeth can add up to the price of a high-end new car. Such treatment changes lives; a new car does that briefly.
 
Depending on your sources, the average new car today lasts between 8 and 11.5 years.  Average.
 
Reviewing ALL high-quality reports in the professional literature (a meta analysis) shows that after five years, 93.8% of all crowns placed are still functioning. After ten years, 89.2% are still doing their job. If they are supported by implants 87% survive after TWENTY years.
 
Similar high survival rates are reported for simple fillings, root canal treatment and other dentistry. Some of our TEMPORARY caps have lasted decades! (Our experience, your benefit.)
 
The value of dentistry is unmatched. It cannot be challenged. Additionally, how we make dental treatment affordable will be my next posting.