Advances in laser dentistry are happening at, well, laser speed. In fact, the Solea CO2 laser picked up a Popular Science award for Best of What’s New — and it has shot laser dentistry into the spotlight. However, the reality is that laser dentistry is nothing new (at least if you rely on an endodontist for your dental surgery needs). Most often, lasers are used in dentistry for procedures like root canals in which every last scrap of infected pulp and bacteria needs to be removed. Some of those root canal channels are complex, and it’s difficult to clean them out entirely without a laser.
However, the Solea model is the very first CO2 laser that’s received Food and Drug Administration approval for both soft and hard tissue in the dental field. The product comes from Convergent Dental Inc., a private organization that’s headed by Michael Cataldo. According to reports, 95 percent of all users are able to utilize the Solea CO2 with zero anesthesia and still achieve fast, pain-free results. Even better, almost all soft tissue procedures are completed with no bleeding.
No anesthesia and no blood for dental work? That’s something that has dentists and patients alike smiling ear to ear.
Beam Me Up!
This kind of advancement means fillings can be done at breakneck speed, soft tissue surgery in one appointment and multi-quadrant procedures without a hitch. It’s a lot less time and discomfort for patients, letting them squeeze in lunch appointments that would normally require an afternoon off. According to Cliff Ransom, editor in chief of Popular Science, “Winners of Popular Science’s Best of What’s New Award tend to change what the future will look like. This year’s 100 honorees are no different — they are all revolutionary in their respective fields.”
Convergent is hopeful that all their products will improve the relationship between dentists and patients. According to research from Gallup, 35 percent of Americans haven’t seen a dentist in the past year. A big cause of this is dread of either the drill, pain or both. Solea is changing that, but so are endodontists who guarantee a pain-free experience. Put them together and you have an unstoppable force.
All the (Not so Juicy) Details
Solea features a 9.3 µm wavelength laser, along with computer control applications that are set to completely replace dental drills as the go-to tools for most surgeries. It’s quiet, provides no sensation and patients often don’t even realize it’s on. For many patients with dentophobia, it’s the fear of seeing and hearing the drill that has them avoiding appointments — not the fear of pain itself. With laser dentistry, that’s not an issue, and it helps more patients keep those lifesaving checkups.