Ok, I'll tell you right now, I'm not an expert on dental lasers, but I have seen where the technology is. My father is a physicist, so I should be able to tackle lasers. The dental lasers currently available are quite useful at soft tissue surgery, that is things like gingival contouring. They can be used to treat apthous ulcers and to remove minor lesions like fibromas. Other dental lasers can be used to do some hard tissue surgery (teeth). That is, they can do much of what the dental handpiece (drill) does now. However, they do not totally replace the handpiece and they cannot be used, right now anyways, to prepare crowns, or remove alloy fillings. They do not totally replace dental handpieces.
How they work is to heat up any water in the area that's zapped till basically it explodes in a little puff. It can be quite precise. Of course, with children you have to consider patient movement and other things. Here is one company that makes these: Biolase. I think as the cost comes down and the technology improves, you will see these basically replace the dental "drill". The units are expensive. Right now the cost of one of these is up to 50 times the cost of a regular dental handpiece.
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