Gum disease is one of the most prevalent conditions to affect adults. We work hard to help our patients prevent the onset of gum disease by providing thorough exams that include a specific assessment of the gums. Additionally, we perform routine cleanings to remove plaque and tartar accumulation, and we are happy to demonstrate brushing and flossing techniques to support home care. In the event that gum disease does develop, we may suggest laser gum therapy as minimally invasive treatment.
What is laser gum therapy?
Laser periodontal treatment, or gum therapy, is an alternative to traditional gum surgery. Historically, moderate to severe gum disease has been treated with gum surgery. In this procedure, the periodontist uses a scalpel to create a flap in the gums. This provides access to the area between the gingiva and the tooth, where plaque and bacteria have accumulated. Through this flap, damaged gum tissue can be removed. This is called scaling. Once the debris is removed, the roots are then smoothed to encourage re-attachment. This is called root planing.
Laser periodontal treatment completes this same process by using a precision laser device instead of a surgical technique.
How does laser periodontal treatment work?
Laser energy, which is created by a beam of light, has a particular effect on soft tissues like the gingiva, or the gums. The light beams from a dental laser penetrate up to 4mm below the surface. When it does, the laser immediately targets diseased tissue for removal. In this case, removal is vaporization on contact. In addition to vaporizing the tissue, the laser also kills the bacteria that have colonized beneath the gums. The basic steps of laser periodontal therapy include:
- Excessive depth of the periodontal pocket, as well as the presence of tartar, is discovered by the laser probe.
- A laser beam targets diseased tissue, bacteria, and pathologic proteins in the pocket.
- A slight modification of the tooth’s structure or, if necessary, bony structure, is performed.
- Laser energy affects blood vessels so they close immediately and aid in the clotting necessary for healing.
How long does laser periodontal treatment take?
Laser gum therapy can take as little as an hour or as long as 3 hours, depending on the extent of infection. Listening to music or other media through headphones can help your treatment go by more quickly.
Does laser periodontal treatment hurt?
The laser technique is minimally invasive and does not actually cut the gums as would be necessary for traditional gum surgery. Usually, patients are able to tolerate treatment. If you are concerned about discomfort during laser gum therapy, speak with our office. We are happy to discuss how we can make this necessary procedure as comfortable as possible for you.
Who is a good candidate for laser periodontal treatment?
This method of gum therapy is appropriate for patients with:
- Deeper periodontal pockets (greater than 4mm)
- Periodontal pockets that cannot be surgically treated due to “breakdown” during treatment.
- Medical conditions that require specific medication that cannot be stopped.
- A preference for non-surgical, minimally invasive treatment.
- Coinciding gingival overgrowth.
What are the benefits of laser gum therapy?
The Academy of General Dentistry lists the following benefits of laser periodontal treatment:
- Precision targeting of diseased tissue, which means minimal disruption of surrounding tissue.
- The minimally-invasive technique reduces bleeding during surgery, which leads to less swelling and discomfort after treatment.
- Faster healing and recovery time.
What kind of dental care is needed after laser periodontal treatment?
The focus of oral care after laser periodontal treatment is to inhibit the further accumulation of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. This requires a commitment to routine oral hygiene that includes daily brushing and flossing. Your dentist may also discuss the value of adding an antimicrobial rinse to your daily hygiene regimen. Because smoking severely affects gum health, it is recommended that this habit stops. Finally, subsequent infection after laser periodontal treatment can be inhibited by seeing your dentist regularly. Initially, we may want to see you every three to four months. Routine care may return to a six-month schedule once the bacterial load in your mouth has been brought under control.
Kravitz Dental has offices in Miami and Pembroke Pines where you can expect to receive professional services with a friendly attitude. Call an office near you to schedule your comprehensive periodontal checkup.