With proper home care and your participation, periodontal therapy can often alleviate gum disease. Your hygienist will go around each involved tooth to remove any debris and calcified deposits that are adhering to your teeth in a process called scaling and root planing. A good analogy to this part of the cleaning is like removing barnacles off of a pier. Scaling and root planing will remove the mechanical irritants to your gums and supporting bone and also remove a major reservoir of periodontal bacteria.
After removing the tartar and calculus, a periodontal therapy laser is used to selectively remove diseased or infected tissues lining the pockets around your teeth. At the same time, the laser will kill the bacteria that cause gum disease and promote healing of the gums surrounding your teeth. Some lasers can help increase circulation and collagen formation at the bottom of your periodontal pockets and help revive or rejuvenate their attachment. This specialized treatment is usually performed multiple times over a period of a few weeks.
Using lasers in gum therapy
Have you been told you have periodontal disease or gum disease? This is an infection of bone and supporting structures of your teeth. Before thirty years of age, decay is the major reason for tooth loss. After thirty years of age, gum disease is the major cause of tooth loss. It is estimated that over eighty percent of the adult population has gum disease to one degree or another. Periodontal bacteria can cause an inflammatory reaction which leads to destruction of the fibers that connect teeth to bone and can create a space that is called a periodontal pocket.
While everyone has some amount of pocketing the normal depths are between one to three millimeters. You can keep three millimeters or less pockets clean by yourself with routine brushing, flossing and rinsing. However, if your situation is that you have pockets that are deeper than three millimeters, it is impossible for you to clean and maintain them. As a result, you have debris and bacteria living at the bottom of these pockets which has led to chronic gum infection, and many patients who experience this report a bad taste or odor in their mouth. As we age we become more susceptible to periodontal bacteria, so proper oral hygiene routines are essential. If disease is present without treatment, your teeth will lose enough support that they become loose and painful. This can sometimes lead to tooth loss.
Overall Gum Disease Treatment
Overall initial gum disease treatment is to have scaling (cleaning) of your teeth by a Hygienist along with proper daily oral hygiene care. If gum disease persists and pockets are around 6mm or less, laser gum treatment can often reduce pockets by a further 1mm. For deeper pockets, around 6mm or more, you should consider further treatment with a Periodontist. Periodontist have other treatments that can help with gum disease.
What about pain?
One of the biggest advantages of laser therapy is the fact that many times procedures can be performed with much less discomfort and post-operative pain than with conventional methods. This is due to the lasers ability to seal off nerve endings and blood vessels. Additionally, they have been reported to have an analgesia type effect making the use of anesthetic unnecessary in many cases. Since hard tissue lasers are used in a non-contact manner there is also less heat and vibration produced compared to a traditional hand piece.