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We recently had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Linda Murzyn-Dantzer, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine and a faculty member in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora. In conjunction with her on-demand Webinar on the usage of lasers in pediatric dentistry, we talked with her about how this technology can help your practice’s young patients.
DPR: Let’s start with the basics. Why do you believe dental practices should be using a laser?
Dr. Murzyn-Dantzer: Since the laser itself provides analgesia, there is less need for medication and local anesthetic. I do believe that “no-shot” dentistry is achievable. By not having to put a needle inside a patient’s mouth, you’ve already lowered that patient’s anxiety level and fear about being in your practice.
There is less pain and anxiety during treatment as well. We’ve proven this by assessing heart rate and utilizing a visual pain scale in studies we have conducted.
DPR: What procedures are prime candidates for laser usage?
Dr. Murzyn-Dantzer: All common soft-tissue procedures, like frenectomy, gingivectomy, excision, or exposure to aid eruption can be done safely and quickly in the clinic setting with reduced post-surgical swelling, pain, and discomfort since there is lesser negative effect on adjacent tissue when using the laser. Variable pulse settings also allow for relaxation of tissue.The laser significantly reduces bleeding as it will coagulate as it cuts. This means no stitches for the patient. It also starts healing and pain control through initiating biologic pathways. The hemostasis and disinfection function is quite effective for pulpotomy procedures.
Hard-tissue procedures, like caries removal, cavity preparation, composite removal and sealants are done comfortably since there is no friction created as with a traditional drill. Lasers are excellent for minimally invasive procedures and improved bond strength of composite fillings.
DPR: When we’re talking about pediatric patients, the viewpoint of the parents is always important. What have you heard from them?
Dr. Murzyn-Dantzer: We have heard great things. When we ask the children which method they prefer, they have chosen the laser over traditional local anesthesia and drill. Parents take note of this and want what their children want and what will make them most comfortable. Both patient and parent satisfaction is very good and that equates into a positive attitude toward future dental visits from both children and parents.