Laser Dentistry

The high-tech low-pain way to treat Periodontal Disease

Chances are that you have heard much about lasers, especially in their use to treat eye problems. You may also have heard about the use of  lasers in dental treatment. Because Dr. Mao is always up on the cutting edge of dentistry and also interested in procedures that may minimize his patients' discomfort, laser dentistry may be right for you. In this page you will find the latest information about the benefits of laser treatment and how it can help you keep your teeth for the rest of your life.

Frequently asked questions

What is a Laser? What are the benefits of laser dentistry?
Are Lasers new to dentistry? Will my insurance pay for laser Dental?
Are Lasers Dangerous? How will I know if Laser Dentistry is for me?
What types of procedures can the laser do? A Final Word...

What is a Laser?

A laser is a high-technology device that generates a beam of concentrated light. This beam of controlled light brings energy deep inside the periodontal pockets (laser curettage) and onto the gum tissues (surgery) to  remove areas of infection inside the pockets and to perform many types of periodontal surgery (esp. crown-lengthening) . This controlled beam of heat and light sterilizes the affected area by destroying many bacteria and viruses found in the mouth and also seals off blood vessels, which minimizes the chance of infection or bleeding.  Patients treated with lasers are much more comfortable both during and after treatment, with little or no bleeding. Many times no "needles/novocaine" is needed.

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Are Lasers new to dentistry?

Shortly after the invention of lasers in the early 1960s, lasers were used experimentally on the teeth and gums. Lasers have been used on a limited basis in hospital dentistry. Recent technological developments have made it possible for lasers to be used effectively in the dental office on patients like you. In fact, lasers are now being used by dentists and Periodontists all over the world.

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Are Lasers Dangerous

In the hands of a skilled, specially trained dentist, lasers are quite safe. In fact, the primary safety measure necessary during laser treatment is proper protective eyewear. Dental lasers are low-powered, which is essential for treating the delicate tissues of the mouth. Due to a process called "initiation", the laser does not extend beyond the tip of the laser fiber, thus affecting only that tissue which is in direct contact with the tip and no further. The Diode laser, esp. in it's pulsed mode cannot hurt the tooth if used correctly.

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What types of procedures can the laser do?

There are many different types of lasers used in dentistry, and their applications vary. The most common use of lasers is for periodontal (gum) treatment and oral surgery. The following procedures are done by the laser in our office:

  • Laser Curettage (sometimes done with scaling & root planing.)
  • Surgical Crown-Lengthening before your general dentist places a crown.
  • Gingival plastic surgery.
  • Dr. Mao will explain the type of laser used in the office and how it will benefit you.

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    What are the benefits of laser dentistry?

    There are many benefits of laser dentistry. They may include:

    • faster healing
    • less time in the dental chair
    • Less noise than the traditional dental drill
    • reduced risk of infection
    • less bleeding
    • decreased sensitivity
    • less post-operative pain
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    Will my insurance pay for laser Dental Service?

    Today, many dental services can be performed with either the laser or traditional treatment.  The procedure itself is usually covered to some extent by your dental insurance, BUT the laser mode of therapy is NOT. You must decide if the extra expense for the laser will be worthwhile for you, as it will in many cases add to the cost out of pocket.
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    How will I know if Laser Dentistry is for me?

    Ask your dentist. Upon thorough examination and resulting diagnosis, your dentist can determine if laser dentistry is indicated for you.
    The following are important considerations for the use of laser:
  • Medical contraindications. For example, if you are on blood thinners (Coumadin or Aspirin) and cannot be off of them according to your M.D. Similarly, if you cannot take Epinephrine due to cardiovascular problems or get rapid heartbeat
  • . Epinephrine is used by Dr. Mao to control bleeding during surgical procedures.
  • If you have gingival hyperplasia (from Dilantin or blood pressure medications such as Channel Blockers-Calan, Procardia, Norvasc). The laser will cut down the enlarged, swollen tissues without regrowth later on in most cases.

  • General anxiety: laser is quiet and less traumatic with very little post-operative pain and bleeding.
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    A Final Word...

    Laser dentistry is a new technology that helps your dentist treat you with a high degree of precision and accuracy. Helping you keep your smile for a lifetime is our primary goal. Laser treatment may be a step in reaching that goal. If you have further questions or concerns about laser treatment, please ask us. webmaster
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    Richard Mao, D.M.D.
    Practice Limited to Periodontics
    E-Mailwith Questions


    402 Severn Bldg.
    8600 La Salle Rd.
    Towson, Md. 21286
    Tel:(410) 321-9595
    707 N.Hickory Ave.
    Bel Air, Md. 21014
    Tel:(410) 879-6969