'No shot, no needle': How a new laser tooth treatment is changing the dental game

Laser takes the fear out of getting fillings
Updated: Jul. 26, 2018 at 5:59 PM HST
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PEARL CITY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Seven-year-old Audrey Cabanos had two cavities, but she wasn't anxious at all about seeing the dentist.

"I told her there's no injection, it's going to be painless, said her mother, Cindy Cabanos.

She reassured her daughter that "it's going to be fun."

That's because Audrey's pediatric dentist, Jason Ching, is one of nine dentists in Hawaii who now use a dental laser made by Solea instead of a drill.

"This machine or this laser is a game changer," Ching said. "It has a computer inside, and it's the first FDA approved laser for hard and soft tissue."

The machine also eliminates the need for shots or anesthesia and helps ease patient anxiety.

"Just by saying, 'No shot. No needle,' it gives them a more positive outlook of the dentist. That's what we're trying to do, create good experiences," Ching said.

The computer directs precise pulses of energy that put the tooth and the nerve to sleep, so there is very little discomfort.

"It confuses the nerve and overwhelms it. You feel the water, the vibrations, the cold," Ching said.

A foot pedal enabled Ching to focus the beam exactly where it needed to go, and the laser vaporized Audrey's tooth decay without having to drill into her teeth.

Throughout the 20-minute procedure she never flinched.

"It felt amazing," Audrey said.

The machine, which can also be used to treat adults, costs more than $100,000 so not every dentist can afford one, but most dental care plans cover the procedure.

Despite his high-tech helper, Ching says he still uses his drill for some cases.

"It just gives me the ability to treat a lot more variations of procedures and provide more comprehensive care," Ching said.

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