Will Lasers Cause More Harm Than Good?

Lasers

According to new reports, scientists have found a new way to repair teeth. The futuristic concept revolves around using laser light to bring the body’s own stem cells into action. While lasers have often been considered harmful, this time they may be promising a bright future for regenerative medicine. Many are still skeptic about the new method of treatment, worrying that lasers will cause more harm than good.

While not all lasers are harmless, a low-power laser is used in the treatment. With the help of the laser, dental stem cells form dentin, which is a hard tissue similar to the bone. So far scientists have been practicing on rats and mice, as well as on human cells and were successful. While growing an entire tooth is not yet possible due to the enamel which cover the tooth, growing dentin is a major breakthrough in dentistry. With the laser, it will be possible to treat root canals without the painful and uncomfortable procedure.

Currently the scientists are hoping to have an approved human clinical trial. This would allow them to observe how effective the treatment is on humans. Harvard bioengineering professor, David Mooney had expressed why laser treatments will be beneficial. He noted that lasers are frequently used in medicine and dentistry with no side effects. Since their treatment does not introduce any new material to the body, Mooney feels that they have a big chance of getting approval for their clinical trial.

Currently, teeth are physically replaced, however Mooney is excited about the future of his field. He believes that regeneration of teeth is possible and once it becomes mainstream, would advance the medical field significantly. The current research is based on a simple technique of stimulating the stem cells that are already in the body. It has been long noticed by scientists that low-level laser therapy can stimulate biological processes. Some of these include rejuvenation of skin and stimulation of hair growth, however they are unsure of the mechanisms.

While it is a seemingly harmless procedure, it is important for scientists to find the right laser dose. It is possible that if the laser dose is too low the procedure would not work, however if the dose is too high the procedure may cause harm to patients.

Lasers have been commonly used in procedures such as hair removal and eye surgeries. They cause damage to the hair follicle and some laser eye surgeries have left their patients completely blind. It is no wonder that many are concerned that this new laser treatment may cause more harm than good. Some lasers can also be a source of UV light, thus increase the risk of cancer, speed up the growth of cataracts and cause macular degeneration, which can eventually lead to partial or complete vision loss.

Although there have been many successful cases of laser use, it is important to remember that anything unnatural may be harmful to the body. It is especially worrying that these lasers will be treating human teeth and thus will have to be near a human head. While scientists are excited that this new treatment is possible, it is still too early to expect a pain free root canal treatment. This is due to the unknown and potential risks of laser use, which may cause more harm than good in a human body.

By Ivelina Kunina

Sources:
NBC
Daily Mail
The Verge
Windsor Star

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