Lasers have been in dentistry for many years. The reason why it is not very commonly put into practice is because it requires special education as well as a completely unique device needed to execute the technique.
I have been fortunate to have completed my Masters in Laser education in 2013 and since then, Erbium and Diode Lasers have been my daily tools. Yes, it does make a world of difference.
Lasers have made routine dentistry of fillings very comfortable to the child. There is certainly no numbing involved as laser does not come in direct contact with the tooth. It is light and water that splashes on the tooth and removes the decay. Since numbing is not the criteria, its easy to work on multiple teeth in different sides of the mouth without having to worry about traumatic lip bites later.
When it comes to root canal treatments, lasers have been a boon. It’s a real sense of accomplishment when we are able to perform a root canal treatment without having to numb the child for the next three to four hours. It’s a slow approach, but it keeps child’s cooperation levels high up. Since the medium of absorption of lasers is within the tooth, there is no risk of laser scattering and damage to surrounding areas. This is often the concern from parents as they tend to relate lasers with sci- fi light that travels everywhere!
Erbium lasers sterilize the tooth base and remove the debris layer very well that helps to create a strong bond between tooth and filling material. Both Erbium and Diode lasers are able to sterilize the root canal walls in their own unique mechanisms and this helps to achieve success with infected baby teeth, like those that have long standing swellings and/or abscess. Without the use of lasers, such teeth are generally subjected to extraction followed by spacers. Of course, it's always ideal to keep the baby tooth as the natural spacer until its time of exfoliation.