Researchers have developed computer simulations showing how lasers attack oral bacterial colonies, suggesting that benefits of using lasers in oral debridement include killing bacteria and promoting better dental health.
In a study published in the journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, the researchers show the results of simulations depicting various laser wavelengths aimed at virtual bacterial colonies buried in gum tissue.
In humans, actual bacterial colonies can cause gingivitis, or gum inflammation.
Gingivitis can develop into periodontal disease, which involves a more serious infection that breaks down the bones and tissues that support teeth.
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"The paper verifies or validates the use of lasers to kill bacteria and contribute to better health following periodontal treatments," said co-author Lou Reinisch, Ph.D., associate provost for academic affairs at New York Institute of Technology.
Drawing on his background in physics, optics, and calculus, Reinisch, an expert in laser surgery and an associate editor with the journal, created mathematical models based on optical characteristics of gum tissues and bacteria.