Everything You Need To Know About Laser Dentistry

Over the last several years, laser dentistry has exploded in popularity, and it’s not hard to see why. Laser dentistry is precise, minimally invasive, and can be considerably less uncomfortable for the patient. The unique benefits associated with this technology have led to an increasing number of dentists choosing these laser-based procedures over conventional methods whenever possible. 

Here at Belle Meade Smile Center, we use the innovative Solea system as a safe and gentle alternative to traditional dental tools. We use this dental laser in place of a dental drill for most of our procedures, and patients are delighted to find there’s almost no pain or vibration. In fact, nearly every patient who receives Solea treatment skips anesthesia because they simply don’t need it! 

If you dread having dental work done and have been putting off important procedures due to anxiety, we’ve got good news—laser dentistry can treat many different dental conditions! To help you understand how lasers can provide you with comfortable, efficient, and affordable care, let’s take a closer look at what laser dentistry is and how it works. Keep reading below to learn more! 

What is laser dentistry?

Put simply, laser dentistry uses lasers to treat a number of different dental conditions that involve the teeth, gums, and bone. The instruments we use create light energy in a very narrow and focused beam, which produces a reaction when it hits the tissue. This allows the tissue to be shaped or removed. We’re able to use laser dentistry in a wide variety of procedures, including:

  • ulcer treatments
  • troughing
  • cavity removal
  • frenectomy
  • biopsy
  • crown lengthening
  • gingival contouring
  • periodontal treatments
  • dental implants
  • cosmetic laser gingivectomy
  • hypersensitivity treatments
  • tooth decay treatments
  • gum disease treatments
  • teeth whitening

Lasers dentistry is a safe treatment option that has been approved by the FDA. There are two main types of dental lasers: hard tissue dental lasers and soft tissue dental lasers. Each one has its own unique characteristics and will be used to perform specific dental procedures. Our Solea laser allows us to perform both types of procedures safely and effectively.  

What is Solea?

Solea is the first dental laser system cleared by the FDA for hard- and soft-tissue procedures. It uses a high-frequency wavelength uniquely suited for oral procedures and is guided by sophisticated software to carry out virtually painless dental procedures on the teeth and gums.

We’re able to use Solea to treat everything from simple cavities to complex dental surgeries. Not only is the laser virtually painless, but it is also vibrationless! The majority of hard- and soft-tissue procedures at Belle Meade Smile Center are done with no anesthesia, and soft-tissue procedures occur with virtually no bleeding.

These blood-free and anesthesia-free procedures represent a major leap forward in dentistry: we can execute multi-quadrant dentistry, fillings on the fly, and soft-tissue procedures in a single appointment. That means our patients can now receive the care they need in a fraction of the time they would normally need with traditional drills.  Solea is also far less invasive than a traditional dental drill, making healing time following a procedure much shorter.

Hard tissue lasers

Hard tissue lasers have a wavelength that is highly absorbable by hydroxyapatite, which is the calcium phosphate salt found in bones and teeth. This makes them more effective at cutting through the tooth structure, so these lasers are primarily used to cut into the bone and teeth with extreme precision. They can also help “prep” or “shape” the teeth for composite bonding, remove small amounts of tooth structure, and repair worn-down dental fillings. Some of the most common hard tissue procedures include:

Cavity detection

Lasers can often detect cavities earlier than we might otherwise find them by discovering evidence of tooth decay.

Tooth preparation and dental fillings

As mentioned above, local anesthesia and traditional drills are often unnecessary when we use lasers for fillings! They’re also able to kill the bacteria in a cavity, improving the tooth’s long-term health.

Treating tooth sensitivity

Teeth that are overly sensitive can often be treated by dental lasers that seal tubules (where the hypersensitivity presents for recession) on the tooth’s root for relief.

Soft tissue lasers

The wavelength soft tissue lasers use is highly absorbable by water and hemoglobin, the oxygenating protein in red blood cells. This makes them more effective for soft tissue management. We use soft tissue lasers to kill bacteria, activate the regrowth of tissues, and penetrate the soft tissue while sealing blood vessels and nerve endings. This helps to lessen or eliminate postoperative discomfort and promotes faster healing in the tissues. Common soft tissue procedures can include:

Treating “gummy” smiles

Lasers can be used to reshape the gum tissue associated with a “gummy” smile, where the gums cover too much of the tooth.

Crown lengthening

We can use dental lasers to reshape both the gum tissue and the bone for a healthier tooth structure. This helps when placing restorations on the teeth.


The frenulum is the fold of skin under the front part of the tongue that is anchored to the floor of the mouth. Frenulums that are too tight or thick can cause issues, including tongue-tie, difficulty breastfeeding, and speech impediments. A laser frenectomy can release these restricted frenulums quickly and painlessly.

We can also use Solea to treat TMJ issues, regenerate nerves, treat persistent cold sores and mouth ulcers, whiten the teeth, and much more!

Find the best in laser dentistry with Belle Meade Smile Center

Many dentists and patients are turning to laser dentistry because of the distinct benefits these systems offer. In addition to reducing discomfort and decreasing healing time, procedures performed using the Solea laser:

  • may not require sutures
  • may not require anesthesia
  • minimize bleeding, as the lasers aid in clotting the exposed blood vessels and inhibit blood loss
  • minimize bacterial infections since the lasers sterilize and kill bacteria the area being worked on
  • reduce damage to the surrounding soft tissue
  • have a faster healing time because the soft tissues of the mouth can regenerate more quickly

As you can see, laser dentistry is a convenient solution to many common dental problems, from cosmetic to complex. If you’d like to learn more about what our Solea laser system has to offer your smile, get in touch today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Shipp in our Nashville office!