Gum Disease Laser Therapy
Research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that nearly 50 percent of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease. Scaling and root planing, also known as a deep cleaning, is generally used as an initial, conservative treatment when the disease is mild. However, in its more aggressive stages, laser therapy may be recommended. During gum disease laser therapy, a specialized dental laser is used to eradicate unhealthy bacteria and damaged tissue, allowing the gums to reattach to the base of the teeth. This prevents bacteria from developing below the gum line, as well as improves the appearance and health of the gums. With the introduction of lasers into dental care, patients can experience more comfortable treatment, a faster recovery, and a reduced risk of infection.
Benefits of Laser Dentistry
Compared to traditional gum surgery, laser therapy offers several benefits, including:
- Minimally invasive treatment
- No scalpel or sutures required
- Smoother, faster recovery
- Reduced pain and bleeding
- More accurate and aesthetically pleasing results
- Preserves more healthy gum tissue
- Lower risk of infection
Patients with moderate gum disease and periodontal pockets greater than 4 mm are typically good candidates. In more severe cases, your doctor may recommend tissue grafting or another type of surgery.
The Laser Therapy Procedure
During treatment, a dentist, periodontist, or other type of specialist will use a soft tissue laser to remove diseased tissue and bacteria within the pockets along the base of the teeth. The surrounding, healthy tissue will remain unaffected. Before treatment, a local anesthetic will be applied to numb the area.
Once the damaged tissue has been removed, a dental instrument known as a scaler will be used to smooth the surface of the dental roots. The doctor may also apply a gel or membrane containing platelets or similar material to promote healthy tissue generation. By reducing the size of the pocket depths, the gums can more securely attach to the base of the teeth and prevent bacteria from reentering. Treatment sessions generally take about two to three hours and can be completed in one office visit. In more complex cases, an additional office visit may be required.
Recovery and Aftercare Following Laser Therapy
Though some dietary restrictions and hygiene modifications are expected, recovery is fairly quick and straightforward. During your initial consultation, the doctor will discuss post-operative care and provide you with a list of instructions to follow so you know what to expect.
After laser therapy, it is normal to experience slight tenderness or temperature sensitivity, in addition to some swelling. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever and eating soft foods should help reduce these side effects. Over the course of your recovery, you may also experience some slight bleeding and changes in the color of the treated gum tissue. As the gums continue to heal, color will normalize and the gums will start to look healthier.
Protect Your Smile and Your Health
Studies have shown that the health of your mouth can directly impact the health of your body, either positively or negatively. Gum disease has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even stroke. By taking good care of your teeth and gums, you can minimize your risk for related issues and enjoy a healthier smile.