Light energy is one of the most important sources of life on the planet. Without light energy, the planet would be uninhabitable by mankind. As you would imagine, we should never underestimate the importance of light energy in our lives.
That brings us to the topic of red light therapy (RLT). Over the past decade or so, the medical profession and researchers have been playing with the concept of using RLT to help resolve certain medical and mental health issues. The early returns are in, and the news is good.
In a bit of irony, it turns out the dental community may have been out in front of the curve. For decades, dentists have been using near-infrared light to combat the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Now, they are finding other uses for RLT in oral care.
What is Red Light Therapy and How Does It Work?
Red light therapy is the administering of red or near infrared light to a particular part of the body for the purpose of healing. People in the medical profession have been using red or near infrared lasers and LEDs to treat:
And yes, RLT does have a purpose in the field of dentistry.
As far as how RLT works, it is all founded on cell energy theory. In most human cells, there are little organelles called mitochondria. These mitochondria serve and the primary energy source for cell growth. It turns out the mitochondria get very excited when hit with red or near-infrared light.
When mitochondria are hit with the red light, they create a very strong source of energy that causes rapid cell growth and repair. The rapid cell growth and repair becomes the healing properties for the aforementioned medical and mental health issues.
Dental Red Light Therapy
As we mentioned above, the dental community has been using laser lights or pulsating laser lights to combat bacteria problems for at least a couple of decades. Back in the beginning, they didn't refer to it as red light therapy. It was simply considered a treatment process for the battle against bacteria that causes tooth decay and a bevy of other oral problems and diseases.
In recent years, researchers have found that an infrared laser or lamp does a better job of controlling and killing bacteria than traditional brushing. It may not be practical to always resort to RLT to keep your teeth clean, but it is effective.
Through the years, members of the dental profession came to realize that the near-infrared lasers they were using also had healing powers. They discovered that red or near-infrared light increases blood flow, which helps with the healing of sore gums. It also helps to diminish pain by reducing inflammation in the targeted area or areas.
That is not all. Over the last five years or so, the dental care community has been using RLT to address other dental issues. Let's take a look at some of these other uses of RLT in the realm of dental care and hygiene.
Diminishing Tooth Sensitivity
If you have any experience with tooth sensitivity, you likely know how it can affect the quality of your life. Whether your teeth are sensitive to cold or heat, there is always something you cant enjoy because it causes you pain.
One of the primary reasons for tooth sensitivity is the erosion of enamel over a tooth or teeth. This process can be reversed with RLT. The red or near-infrared light serves to stimulate the production of cells that create enamel. By speeding up the process with a near-infrared lamp or laser, the tooth or teeth can reacquire the enamel coating that offers protection against cold and heat.
RLT researchers have forever been interested in how infrared light could help with the process of straightening teeth. As they suspected, RLT creates a healthy oral environment where the teeth can adjust more rapidly under the pressure created by dental braces. In theory, this should significantly reduce the amount of time people have to wear braces.
Also, anyone who goes through regular brace adjustments will tell you there is a little bit of pain involved in the process. Because of the way RLT reduces inflammation in the treated area or areas, it can reduce the painful effects of brace adjustments after the fact.
Reparations for Teeth, Gums, and Bones
Given its known healing properties, it makes sense that RLT would be an effective way to manage damage done to the teeth, gums, and bones structure around the mouth and jaws. The near-infrared light promotes the flow of healthy blood cells to the damaged area, which does two things.
First, it decreases pain in the affected area. Second, it promotes cell growth in the affected area, which translates to faster healing of wounds and broken bones.
About the RLT Treatment Process
The best thing about RLT is you can administer your own treatments at home. For some dental procedures, your dentist or orthodontists might want control over the process. However, there are ways you can use LED lamps to help with the treatment process in between appointments.
To administer your own RLT treatment, you would want to purchases a quality laser or LED near-infrared light emitting device. Make sure what you purchase has FDA approval. Before you try your first treatment, please read the direction. RLT is very safe, but you always want to be cautious with your health.
The process works off light wave frequencies emitted by the near-infrared device. For oral care and hygiene, the proper light wave frequency setting would be between 600 nm and 1,000 nm.
The next time you visit your dentist or orthodontist, you might want to ask them about RLT. If you were to be agreeable, they might implement such treatments to help resolve your dental issues.