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Light bulbs and lasers both generate electromagnetic energy, which is a type of light we can see. Other forms of energy are heat, chemical, nuclear, mechanical or electrical energy.
Laser energy can be used in dentistry and medicine to do many types of biomedical work. Some examples are to vaporize soft tissue, to mechanically break apart calcifications such as kidney and gall bladder stones, to cause hemostasis or clotting of blood vessels, or even to close nerve endings. When a laser has more power generated, it is capable of doing more work. On the other hand, less powerful lasers will do less work. In some situations, higher power lasers can be detrimental to the medical or dental goal needed. The Millenium Perio-Lase MVP-7, which is used in our Manhattan NYC and Nutley, NJ offices, has many different power settings that allow for the most precise treatment without removing healthy tissue. Read more about the advantages of the Millenium Perio-Lase MVP-7 laser
Lasers are devices that convert electrical power provided at a wall outlet into a monochromatic and directional beam of light powerful enough to do biomedical work. In most cases, it is only when light is provided in such a form that it can be used to create medically and dentally useful tissue effects.
Lasers differ from light bulbs in that lasers primarily show light in a more specific degree of monochormaticity and directionality provided in that the range of light wavelengths and the range of directions into which they are emitted are much smaller than what would be achieved by a light bulb. In addition, lasers are able to convert electrical power into a monochromatic and directional light beam much more efficiently.
In general, lasers consist of an active medium, a laser resonator, a power supply, a collimating subsystem, and a controller. The active medium is the material (solid, liquid, or gas) where laser light is generated via a process called stimulate emission. The active medium is used to construct the laser wavelengths, power, and energy and chosen according to the needs of the particular medical or dental application at hand. The active medium is physically located or positioned within an optical subsystem called a laser resonator. It consists of two mirrors separated by some distance and the mirrors are aligned so their reflecting surfaces face each other and are parallel. The active medium is positioned between the mirrors. As it generates light at the wavelength of interest in response to being excited, or pumped by the laser"s power supply, it bounces back and forth between the mirrors amplifying its power. Eventually, the laser light emerges through the output coupler as a monochromatic and directional beam of energy which is delivered to the patient.