SOLON- Laser technology has landed in Solon, coming to both sides of Highway 1 this past spring.
Solon Dental Center and Fitzpatrick Family Chiropractic are using their new laser systems for direct application to patients’ needs. The diode lasers work painlessly by stimulating cells to aid in tissue regeneration. And hey, bonus alert: the lasers can also zap bacteria and vaporize cold sores!
Lasers for oral health
Your next visit to the dentist may include a painless treatment for gum disease; Solon Dental Center is using a new laser included as part of regular treatment for patients.
Dental Hygienists Lisa Messer and Brenda Platz have 33 years of experience between the two of them, but only recently added lasers to their arsenal of dental defenses. They took a course through a continuing education program and have been using the center’s laser since April.
They primarily implement the laser to treat gum disease and clean the gum line in a procedure called laser bacterial reduction, which kills most bacteria to restore oral health. Bacteria are a primary cause of gingivitis, the primary stage of gum disease.
But Messer and Platz don’t point a laser beam at every patient; the pair estimates that less than a quarter of their patients receive laser treatment as part of their dental regimen.
“This isn’t something we’re using instead of what we’ve done in the past; it’s something we’ve added to better restore oral health to our patients,” Platz said.
According to Platz, the laser reduces oral bacteria levels, “bio-stimulates” damaged body tissue and “enhances healing through increased circulation and allowing cells to heal more quickly.”
The therapy is also highly effective at treating cold and canker sores inside and around the mouth. A cold sore treatment is just $40.
A typical canker sore can last about two weeks, whether treated or untreated, but a laser session “reduces it to about three to five days with no or minimal pain,” Messer explained.
She predicted “In the next 3-5 years you’ll see it as part of routine dental cleaning” in dental clinics, but only about 15 percent of clinics nationwide currently use lasers.
Both Dental Hygienists stressed that oral bacteria and gum disease can harm other parts of the body if left unchecked.
“Think of your mouth as an organ, if there was bleeding in any other organ, you wouldn’t hesitate to treat it,” Lisa said, adding, “Your mouth is the beginning of the rest of your body.”
Gum disease and advanced periodontitis can increase the likelihood of strokes, heart disease and other serious illnesses. Full recoveries can be made from gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. If caught in time, tooth and gum health can be easily restored through proper dental care. More advanced forms of the periodontal disease are not reversible.
You might not even realize the laser is being used to clean your gums or treat your canker or cold sore. It’s a handheld tool connected to a small box about the size of a paperback book but with a flip-up LCD screen.
The Solon Dental Center hygienists touted the portability of their device, especially the wireless foot-pedal operation and the simple-to-use touch-screen display that adjusts intensity of the laser.
And where will the technology take them next?
They didn’t waste much time in finding out about more opportunities to treat their clinic’s patients. Messer and Platz have already started an advanced course through the World Clinical Laser Institute to learn more laser application techniques.
Lasers for aches, pains, strains and sprains
Right across the road from Solon Dental, Dr. Brian Fitzpatrick of Fitzpatrick Family Chiropractic lasers patients with sprains and strains for faster recovery. He said patients have experienced “a 40 percent faster recovery rate” from injuries with the painless treatment. The laser-light energy can penetrate several inches into the body for deep tissue relief.
Over 300 conditions can be treated using his non-invasive, cold-laser therapy; including sprains and strains, tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis, and neck and lower back pains.
He said it can be used to relieve acute or chronic pains; promote faster healing; reduce inflammation; and increase blood flow and immune functions.
Fitzpatrick likened his laser’s feedback sensor to an underwater sonar signal. He uses it to “scan through tissues to find direct areas where the problem is.” The device gives a signal when damaged or scarred tissue is found and he can then concentrate the therapeutic laser on specific areas to stimulate cells for pain relief and faster recovery.
He said an ideal use is for injured athletes, “It can really help accelerate healing so they can get back on the field, track or court faster.”
Fitzpatrick found out about using lasers for patient care through a continuing education news service from Palmer College in Davenport, where he and his wife, Emily, studied chiropractic medicine.