by: Dr. Ian Gray
Dental lasers are amazing. There are many types of dental lasers, some used for soft tissue, hard tissue or both.
Dental lasers that are used on soft tissue can assist in healing oral diseases like gingivitis and periodontal disease by destroying bacteria and initiating healing. Lasers can also remove excess oral tissue like tongue-tie or tight lip attachment, with small amounts of freezing with minimal to no bleeding.
One huge benefit of dental lasers is they can assist with healing painful cold, canker and denture sores. Cold sores are a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is common for people to seek treatment from their physician who prescribed an anti-viral medication or over the counter ‘numbing’ gels. Canker and denture sores are also painful and can make eating, drinking and talking uncomfortable. Canker sores can take 1-2 weeks to heal and denture sores usually will not disappear until the source of irritation is eliminated.
A cold, canker or denture sore is treated quite similarly with a dental laser. No freezing is necessary and the patient feels only warmth on the site while being treated. The sore is treated until it is no longer sore, this is the way we know that we have initiated healing of the lesion. A patient will leave the dental office and by the next day the sore will be on its way to healing.
Since cold sores are caused by viruses, if you continuously develop a sore in the same area it shows that the virus is active at that nerve ending. By treating the same area each time with the laser, by 2-3 times we will help prevent it from coming back. A theory of how a dental laser works to help permanently reverse cold sore formation is biostimulation by the laser ‘burns’ the virus out, thus eliminating repeat sore formation.