LightWalker® Dual-Wavelength Laser from Fotona Handles Soft and Hard Tissue with Care
Alan Dalessandro, DDS, says the key to using dental lasers to their greatest advantage is understanding the pertinent biology of the tissues and the physics of lasers. “The laser is a tool, like a drill is a tool. You need to know the basic biology of bone and soft tissues, the biology and progression of disease, and the progression of healing events. You also must understand the physics of lasers and the appropriate wavelengths in order to know how to enhance the treatment indicated,” the Hoffman Estates, Illinois periodontal specialist maintains.
The primary reason to use a laser, Dalessandro says, is to improve results using a technique that makes treatment easier for both the dentist and the patient—this also increases patient perception and acceptance. “For the patient, the difference between conventional periodontal surgery and laser surgery is significant,” he says. “The aftermath of the first, which involves creating a flap to clean underneath the gums, bone grafts, and stitches, can be pain and swelling, while after laser surgery there is usually minimal swelling, pain, or bleeding.”
What makes the LightWalker™ Hard and Soft Tissue Lasers from Fotona unique, Dalessandro asserts, is that it is “two lasers in one system.” The Nd:YAG is a free-running pulse 1064-nm wavelength laser for soft-tissue procedures that, he says, “removes diseased tissue lining from inside a gum pocket and kills periodontal pathogens.” It also creates a fibrin blood clot, which contains growth factors and promotes healing, he adds. What it does not do, he says, is cut bone or teeth.
That’s where the second laser—an Er:YAG 2940-nm laser—comes in. “It’s incredible using this erbium laser on bone. Because it decorticates bone, it creates a good blood supply and recipient bed for bone grafting materials,” he explains. He adds that it also effectively removes disease from tooth root surfaces and implant surfaces through the photoacoustic effect from the erbium laser, which, with vibration and waves, disrupts the calcified deposits and biofilm that cause disease when it forms around teeth and implants. This makes healing more effective and faster. Along with treating periodontitis around teeth and peri-implantitis around implants, the laser can also be used effectively in the patented Photon Induced Photoacoustic Streaming (PIPS™) treatment for root canal therapy.
The dual-laser advantages are used together in the Wavelength-optimized Periodontal Therapy (WPT™) protocol. This patient-friendly alternative to scalpel/suture flap surgery is a proprietary combination of both LightWalker wavelengths.
In practice for more than 30 years, Dalessandro notes exciting new applications for laser technology. Based on findings in fields such as dermatology, plastic surgery, and gynecology about the ability of erbium lasers to cause new collagen formation, he says this principle can be used similarly to help treat snoring.
“In snoring, the soft palate and uvula vibrate in the back of the throat. Using a protocol from Fotona called NightLase®, I can use the LightWalker on soft tissue on the palate and uvula. The erbium laser causes the collagen to tighten and encourages new collagen to form, with the end result being the tissues tightening and the vibrations and noise—the snoring—reducing,” he says. The protocol requires no anesthesia, the results are immediate, and there is no pain or swelling.
Another exciting use of the technology is for esthetics, Dalessandro adds. In a protocol called Smoothlase, the laser is used on the soft tissue inside the cheeks. Because of the collagen tightening and new collagen formation, it can smooth and reduce wrinkles on the face.
Dalessandro considers the advantages offered by this dual laser technology to be significant for dentistry and continues to find new applications for LightWalker lasers in his private specialty practice.