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A. Laser Dentistry: Something to Smile About

Narrator: This is Science Today. Laser dentistry is an exciting innovation in dental care -especially for patients who may cringe at the sight and sound of the drill. Dr. Daniel Fried of the University of California, San Francisco's Division of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences, says within the past five years, the first FDA-approved lasers in dentistry have been used to treat gum disease and cavities.

Fried: The primary advantage of using a laser is that there's no noise and vibration associated with the laser like the drill. And that actually translates to pain. So there's less pain associated with the procedure - it's not completely painless, but there is considerably less pain.

Narrator: Fried and his colleagues have been studying the laser's ability to render tooth enamel resistant to acid dissolution, which could lead to tooth decay.

Fried: So that's another advantage - you can render the walls resistant to further acid dissolution. So you could treat high-risk areas like in you molars, you have these little pits and fissures and that's primarily where dental decay occurs today.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.