OKLAHOMA CITY — Going to the dentist is not anyone’s idea of a good time.
Some people hate the dentist so much they stop going!
“Nobody likes getting fillings,” said Joel Mitchell as he was about to have three cavities filled at his dentist, Masterpiece Smiles. “Ya. I’ve been around the block once or twice with the dentist. I hate getting shots in my mouth.”
Indeed the dental shot is one of the most unpopular parts of modern dentistry.
“Oh, I don’t like the shot,” said Jazmine Moreno as she was having her cavities filled at Dentistry By Design in Midwest City. “I hate that big mouth feeling where I’m drooling out of one side.”
There’s a new dental laser popping up at dental practices around the country.
It’s a cavity laser that zaps tooth decay.
“It cuts enamel,” said Dr. Ashley Lanman. “It basically goes through and vaporizes cavities and that’s never happened before.”
Laser dentistry is nothing new.
Traditional diode lasers have been around for decades effectively cutting through soft tissue.
However, the new laser called Solea Laser cuts through tooth enamel.
“We were even a little surprised how well it works because it almost sounds too good to be true,” said Masterpiece Smiles dentist Dr. Kristie Haller.
The vibrations of the laser-focused-light actually numb the tooth.
There is no shot needed; no numbness needed; no restrictions on filling cavities in multiple areas of your mouth.
Joel Mitchell had three cavities filled in three areas of his mouth in 15 minutes.
“It numbed my tooth as it went. So, I thought it was really cool,” Mitchell said.
The dentists at Masterpiece Smiles report they can use the Solea Laser on 95 percent of their patients who need a filling.
“It’s faster. It’s more comfortable. Patients will come and get their teeth worked on earlier with more prevention in mind and not wait until they need to get the tooth pulled,” said Masterpiece Smiles dentist Dr. Robert Baumann.
“My patients get up and say, ‘Oh, laser every time. Laser.’ So, I’m pretty convinced that it does what it says it does,” said Dr. Lanman.
Earlier this year, Dr. Edward Harroz bought a Solea Laser for his Midwest City practice, Dentistry By Design.
Because of the way the Solea Laser numbs the tooth the numbing effect actually lasts 10 or 12 minutes.
In most cases, if a dentist wants to finish up preparing a cavity with the traditional drill they are able to do that without any numbing shots.
Does it cost more?
Every dentist sets their own prices.
But, there are four Solea Laser practices in the Oklahoma City area, and none of them are charging more for having a cavity filled with the Solea Laser.
Dentists say the laser pays for itself.
It’s important to understand not every cavity can be filled using the Solea Laser.
The biggest factors are the location of the cavity, the size of the filling needed and whether that tooth has an existing filling.
The good news is, if Solea is an option, the computerized laser is able to save more tooth structure than the old drill because Solea is computer-controlled.
“It’s faster. It’s more comfortable,” Dr. Baumann. “Patients will come and get their teeth worked on earlier with more prevention in mind and not wait until they need to get the tooth pulled.”
The Solea Laser is a great option for kids.
Young patients can now have a cavity filled without a painful shot.
It’s important to ask your dentist questions before opting for any kind of laser treatment.
The maker of Solea Laser tells us the technology is relatively new to Oklahoma.
However, Solea has been widely used in other regions around the U.S. for more than five years.