The conventional and straight forward thinking that has existed from aeons of time is that if we have a cavity, it needs to be drilled and filled. Drilling is painful; hence we need a shot.
This approach can certainly increase the anxiety both on parental and child’s front. Waterlase or Erbium laser-based dentistry has traversed a unique pathway where laser pops are used to remove the decays, followed by filling.
Since laser does not come in contact with the tooth structure, there is no pressure sensation on the tooth. This takes care of the numbing part. We don’t need to use needles or shots to numb the tooth prior to laser fillings. In case there is very deep carious decay and child is very sensitive or apprehensive, a small infiltration i.e. few drops of anesthesia are used.
The advantage of the No Drills, No Needles approach:
- Rules out biggest fear of visiting the dentist, i.e. needles.
- Saves time that otherwise goes in waiting for anesthesia to set in.
- Makes it possible to do multiple teeth in different quadrants of the mouth. This is otherwise not suggested, as child will have to be numbed in multiple sites.
- Sometimes children come fasting for the appointment under conscious sedation. If they are numbed, they cannot eat for couple of hours even after the treatment to avoid accidental cheek or lip bites. With laser treatment, they can eat fifteen minutes after.
- There is no risk of traumatic bite which is quite common after anesthesia as children accidentally bite or pinch on numb cheeks and lips.
To conclude, laser dentistry is truly a Needle-free and Drill-free approach in dentistry. This is a contemporary doorway opening many new trajectories in the field of Pediatric Dentistry.