The earliest recorded reference to oral disease was in a Sumerian text that dates back to approximately 5,000 B.C.
According to Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson and dental historian, Eric Curtis, DDS, dental care in the 1700s was provided by “barber surgeons” who would extract teeth, perform minor surgery, cut hair, and provide embalming services.
Dentistry has made extraordinary progress since those early days, and we now know it is an integral part of our overall health. Dental care now also includes amazing technological advances that just a few years ago may have seemed like science fiction.
One such state-of-the-art technology proudly offered by the SEARHC Children’s Dental Clinic is the ability to perform oral surgical procedures using a CO2 laser called LightScalpel. The laser replaces other instruments that would have bruised or even crushed tissue causing lengthy, uncomfortable recovery periods and scarring. There is so little trauma to the tissue because the laser produces an extremely concentrated and focused beam of light that cleanly and precisely vaporizes the tissue, while simultaneously sealing blood vessels. It is so precise that it can selectively remove only a few cells at a time if necessary.
SEARHC pediatric dentist, Dr. Kim Hort said, “Dr. Jackson and I first used the LightScalpel at a hands-on continuing education course in Boston. We were so impressed with the ease of operation and the reduced procedure times that we wanted to share this with our patients. Now that we are using the CO2 laser in our Juneau clinic, our dental providers and patients have been just as impressed as we were with the results. The addition of the LightScalpel is another example of our dental program’s focus on bringing advanced technology to our patients so that we can make procedures easier and less invasive. Procedures previously postponed or required sedation can be completed quickly and easily in our clinic.”
We have opened new doors for our patients. The FDA approved, American-made LightScalpel is for soft-tissue surgical procedures like tongue- and lip-tie revisions, gum recontouring, and biopsies. Its many benefits to SEARHC pediatric patients include little or no bleeding, less post-operative swelling and discomfort, less scarring, a lower risk of infection, shortened procedure times, and a smooth recovery. In fact, nursing mothers’ ability to breastfeed their baby immediately after a child’s tongue- and lip-tie revision procedure perfectly illustrates the gentleness of the LightScalpel laser on the most sensitive mouths.
We are ecstatic to provide state-of-the-art oral surgery to our youngest dental patients,” said SEARHC President and CEO, Charles Clement. He added, “Not only is SEARHC providing outstanding care but can do so with the least discomfort both during and after dental procedures. As a parent, I am keenly aware of how important it is for kids to have a positive experience during dental visits and how those experiences color their perceptions for a lifetime.”
Parents in Juneau or anywhere in Southeast Alaska that would like to explore the option of laser oral surgery for their child is encouraged to contact the SEARHC Children’s Dental Clinic at (907) 789-KIDS (5437).