What makes Dr. Kellye Rice, a dentist with 28 years of experience, still excited about going to work every day? This Brentwood, TN dentist has a new tool in her dental “toolbox”: the new state of the art Lightwalker Laser. Dr. Rice has been using laser technology in her practice for over a year now, and is seeing amazing results. Dr. Rice says, “I am able to perform procedures that are less invasive than traditional treatments and which allow the human body to heal itself.”
The key to success to this particular laser is its dual wavelength options with settings to cut hard tissue and another to treat and heal soft tissues. She can use it to remove tooth decay in a cavity, many times without numbing the area, and then use the healing mode to soothe the tooth or soft tissue.
In gum disease, the laser makes a huge difference in treatment. “Traditionally, gum disease is treated by cutting back the gums, which can lead to tooth sensitivity problems. But with the laser, I can sterilize the infected area between the gum and the tooth, reduce the inflammation, and allow the body’s regenerative process to take over. “I have seen some amazing healing,” Dr. Rice explains. She can also use the laser microsurgery for procedures in cosmetic dentistry and take a patient’s “gummy” smile to the perfect smile with a gum recontour.
In healing mode, the laser can treat cold sores and ulcers inside the mouth by killing the bacteria or virus. If a patient comes in before the cold sore erupts, Dr. Rice can use the laser on the affected area, and they may be able to avoid a big break out. In addition, the laser can be used to aid in clotting after a tooth extraction, a bonus for those on certain medications which prevent clotting.
The best candidates for laser dentistry are patients without a lot of silver in their mouths from previous dental work. “It’s great for kids,” she adds. “I love treating kids with the laser because I don’t have to numb them, and they have a really positive experience. Most patients don’t realize how the laser can benefit them when they come in for a dental procedure.
Dr. Rice uses the laser like any other dental tool. Sometimes, she may drill out a cavity with a traditional drill and then treat the tooth with the laser in healing mode. “I use whatever is best for the patient and promotes their health first and foremost,” she says. Many patients, afraid of the sounds of the drill, will find the laser’s distinctive ‘chirp’ much easier to tolerate. But, what may be most surprising to her patients is the cost. There is no additional cost for using the laser over traditional treatments.
Another reason patients may avoid the dentist’s office is shame. Dr. Rice says, “I want people to know that periodontal disease is a genetic degenerative disease. It doesn’t just happen because a person doesn’t brush or floss their teeth enough. It’s an infection…a condition much like diabetes or high blood pressure. No one should be ashamed or embarrassed.” And she can help them heal in amazing ways with laser dentistry.
“Even teeth that sometimes appear hopeless can be successfully treated. If I can stabilize the tooth and get rid of the inflammation and gum disease, then the body can do what it does best and heal. Laser dentistry has completely reinvigorated our mission to help people in my practice,” Dr. Rice says.
In many ways, the health of our bodies is connected to the health of our mouths. Lung and heart disease as well as many other conditions, such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s, can be linked to periodontal disease. And now we know that the bacteria in the mouth can be passed from one person to another.
To find out more about Dr. Kellye Rice’s practice, visit her website: http://www.kellyerice.com. Her office is located at Family and Cosmetic Dentistry and Cool Springs Laser Dentistry, 1800 Mallory Lane, Brentwood, TN 37027.