The current and coming revolution of lasers in healthcare.
We have all heard about lasers particularly related to their use in HC for as much as this has been in the news you would think that we pretty much know everything about this area. This is not the case. In fact we are just seeing the Inital steps in what wil become a mainstay of medical/ treatment of the next century.
What are lasers: simply put, LASER is an acronym for Light Amplified stimulated emissions radiation. Each element in the periodic table can emit energy of a particular wavelength. To get a laser emission, energyusually electricity is run through a medium containing a particular element. This is absorbed by the atoms and is released back as the particular wavelength of light specific to the element used. For example Sodium in table salt will emit a bright yellow light when energy is applied.
In practical terms this translates into light of a single color or wavelength where the wavelength of each beam is coordinated. Lasers are energy pure and simple that we can control the power and direction of the beam. Laser can be made in any color of light, even those we cannot see with our eyes. Blue wave players use blue lasers, bar code scanners use red lasers. Laser pointers are usually red but green and blue are also popular. High power lasers are used in manufacturing for welding, cutting, and fusing materials like in 3-D printing. In fact the cloth for clothes you have on right not were most likely cut from the bolt with a laser
How do laser perform work?
Like all things in our world, Lasers do what they do based on energy. What makes lasers different is the where And in what way in which their energy is absorbed. Consider a scalpel that is used for conventional surgery. While it can be used to cut tissue, it can also cut a myriad of other things too. Lasers can be far more specific. A laser designed for surgical use might be worthless for cutting paper or string. This is because lasers work where their energy is absorbed. Material differ in what light wavelengths they absorb, there for a laser may be strongly absorbed in one type of tissue while not at all in another. It is this specificity that makes lasers a different ball game.
While visible light has a few applications in healthcare, the bulk of medical lasers use the infra-red spectrum which is not visible to our naked eyes.
. The most common elements/compounds are CO2, Erbium, and neodymium. Most commonly this wavelength is noted for heat such as heat lamps in restaurants. Yet when these wavelengths generated as a laser amazing things can happen.
Laser in dentistry
While coming on strong, lasers in dentistry are not new. I attended my first lecture on the topic over 20 years ago. Like all new fields it had to go through is own growing pains before becoming clinically applicable. Today not only have the basic issues regadring the use of lasers in dentistry been resolved we also have a growing body of human research documenting the advantages of this approach to treatment.