Downtown Indianapolis dentist Dr. Tracey Tabor Williams provides a range of laser dental treatments for her patients. Laser dentistry is a growing field that offers patients a number of benefits, including a major reduction in pain during treatment. Additionally, laser dentistry can often lead to better outcomes and shorter-term treatments.

Each dental laser is designed for a specific use, and dentists such as Dr. Tracey Tabor Williams employ more than one type of laser in their practices. Lasers intended for hard tissues (usually teeth) can be used to prepare a tooth for a filling, decrease tooth sensitivity, or locate small cavities before they become problematic. Lasers for soft tissues can be used to treat periodontal disease, provide cosmetic gum treatments, and conduct frenectomies. In addition, dental lasers may be employed as part of treatment for cold sores, sleep apnea, temporomandibular joint disorder, and tooth discoloration.

Each of these treatments requires the laser to accomplish specific tasks. For example, the Picasso Dental Laser employed by Dr. Williams is designed to treat periodontal issues, such as gum disease. In this application, a tiny fiber attached to the end of the laser is placed between the gums and the teeth, an area that is prone to bacteria buildup. Laser energy is directed into the area, killing bacteria. The procedure is virtually painless and much better for the health of the gums than traditional approaches.

The Diagnodent Laser, also employed in Dr. Williams’ office, detects small cavities so they can be treated via minimally invasive techniques. A very low-intensity laser strikes the tooth, causing the by-products of tooth decay to react. Sensors on the device then look for the telltale chemical signature of a new cavity.

Another benefit of these lasers is their tissue specificity. Lasers intended to affect certain types of tissue have little or no effect on other types, leading to very precise and often painless dentistry. To see this principle in action, check out this instructional video on laser dentistry. In the video, a dentist shines a dental laser on a piece of paper with black text. The laser has a different effect on the plain paper than it does on the text.

Dental Laser Demonstration

Located in downtown Indianapolis, Dr. Tracey Tabor Williams focuses on providing patients with the highest standard of care. Many patients come to Dr. Williams with highly preventable periodontal (gum) issues. Here, she provides advice on how to avoid these issues.


Like any other tissue in the body, the gums can become infected. Periodontal disease usually takes root in the space between the gums and the teeth, a pocket known as the sulcus. As bacterial infections attack the sulcus, this pocket becomes deeper, causing damage to the roots of the teeth and even to the jawbone in extreme cases. Sometimes periodontal disease appears without warning signs, so it is important to maintain good oral health and see your dentist regularly.

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is simply to follow general dental hygiene tips. Brush your teeth twice a day or more, using a soft toothbrush. Also brush the gums gently whenever you brush your teeth, as bacteria builds up on gum surfaces in the same way it does on the teeth. In addition, make sure to floss every day, to ensure that bacteria does not get trapped between the teeth.

Healthy dietary choices also promote good periodontal health. High-sugar or refined foods can promote bacterial growth and hurt the gums. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and other natural foods can prevent the development of disease.

Although they are not always present, everyone should keep an eye out for the warning signs of periodontal disease. The most common symptom is red, swollen gums, which may bleed when you floss or brush. You may also experience a gradual recession of your gums, exposing more of the teeth. These signs appear early in the disease, in a state known as gingivitis. See your dentist as soon as possible for treatment, as gingivitis can be reversed.

If you notice constant bad breath, see changes in the way your teeth align in your mouth, or develop pus in between teeth, you may have a more advanced periodontal disease known as periodontitis. You should see your dentist immediately in order to minimize damage.

Picasso Dental Laser
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As a dental professional serving the Indianapolis community, I am proud to offer patients personalized treatment with state-of-the-art equipment such as the Picasso dental laser. This safe and minimally invasive technology requires little or no anesthesia on the patient’s part, and significantly reduces post-operation discomfort and healing time. I particularly recommend it for patients suffering from periodontal diseases affecting the gums and other soft tissues. The Picasso dental laser has additional functions in treating cases of persistent cold sores and other forms of oral ulceration. Not only does this mitigate the symptoms of these painful lesions, but it minimizes the chances of sores recurring.

The Picasso soft-tissue diode works on the gingiva by directing a minute amount of laser-generated light energy at precise points between the tooth and the gums. This effectively reduces bacterial colonies associated with tartar buildup that can lead to tooth supportive-bone decay. The Picasso dental laser is also effective for cosmetic treatments involving recessive gums. Reshaping the gingiva, the procedure effectively gives patients back their smiles and eliminates the types of infections which undermine oral health.

One of the aspects of the Picasso dental laser approach that patients appreciate most is its quickness: the laser portion of treatment takes mere seconds. Patients notice an immediate reduction in their discomfort level with the majority experiencing a complete cessation of pain. Many patients I treat have approached the laser-assisted procedure with fear and trepidation only to find themselves enjoying a quick and relaxing dental visit.

In addition to the Picasso laser treatment, my office offers DIAGNOdent laser technologies, which is an effective procedure for identifying cavities while they are still in the early stages. Intra-oral cameras enable the staff to guide patients through a virtual tour of their own mouths, identifying areas in need of better hygiene as well as those requiring future treatment.

About the author: Dr. Tracey Williams earned her D.M.D. from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in Kentucky. She began practicing dentistry in Arkansas and eventually relocated to Indiana. She has offered comprehensive dental care to Indianapolis patients of all ages for the past seven years.

University of Louisville School of Dentistry
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