With almost half of the population of adults over the age of thirty estimated to have a form of gum disease, it is no surprise that laser periodontal treatment is becoming increasingly common. Gum disease should be taken seriously as it can not only cause oral health complications for individuals, but it may also be associated with the existence or development of other health conditions.
Periodontal disease typically impacts adults in their 30s and 40s, and risk factors for developing the condition include:
- Chronic poor oral hygiene
- Chronic illnesses such as diabetes
- Genetic susceptibility
- Some medications
People experiencing periodontal disease may first notice the outwardly obvious signs of red and puffy gums that periodically bleed. It not only affects the cosmetic appearance of one’s oral health, but it also can create much more serious oral health issues such as tooth loss and the deterioration of the jawbone. In some cases, it can be associated with the development of other diseases such as diabetes and may even allow oral bacteria to enter the bloodstream which could potentially lead to heart disease.
Fortunately, laser periodontal treatments are helping lead the way in the fight against periodontal disease.
What Is Laser Periodontal Treatment?
By using a special laser designed for dental treatments, a small and focused amount of laser light energy works to heat up and treat problematic gum tissue. Light energy emitted by the laser is typically drawn to the dark area of gums where the blood tends to collect. The laser then essentially vaporizes affected gum tissue while simultaneously cauterizing incisions. The laser does not affect healthy gum tissue and instead only affects diseased gum tissue.
LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure) is a commonly used form of laser periodontal therapy. This is due in part because it is skilled at eliminating infection without negatively impacting tooth structure. LANAP is popular among dentists and patients because it is able to get rid of diseased tissue while preserving healthy gum tissue and root structures.
Another popular form of laser periodontal treatment is TwinLight Periodontal Treatment (TPT). This method combines dual-wavelength Er:YAG and Nd:YAG lasers. The use of these two wavelengths together can be effective at preventing infection and reducing pocket depths.
Regardless of which type of laser is used, this unique approach reduces blood flow from the procedure compared to that of more traditional methods. The laser can eliminate the need for sutures while reducing bleeding and irritation, which in turn speeds up the healing process.
After the Houston dentist uses a laser to remove diseased gum tissue, they will then remove plaque or tartar that has built up around the gumline. This typically requires the dentist to then smooth out any rough spots found on a tooth as the action can be instrumental in reducing the number of bacteria gathering in that spot.
The prevalence and severity of gum disease in a patient can determine how many sessions of laser periodontal treatment will be needed. For some, only a couple of sessions may be required. For others, more may be needed to effectively treat periodontal disease.
What to Expect After Laser Treatment for Periodontal Disease
While laser periodontal treatments are usually better at limiting discomfort and bleeding compared to surgical methods, patients could still experience some gum sensitivity and redness afterwards. Individuals receiving the treatment should proceed cautiously after the procedure when it comes to drinking and eating and avoid any substances that create feelings of discomfort in or around the gums.
Most patients should expect to have a follow up visit with their Houston dentist in the weeks following laser periodontal treatment. This enables dental professionals to ensure that the treated gums are healing nicely and that there are no unexpected complications.
People who receive laser periodontal therapy may see a change in the color of their gum tissue, have some tooth sensitivity, or even experience an unpleasant taste in their mouth after using a prescribed mouth rinse.
It is important to note that having laser periodontal treatments does not safeguard a person from experiencing more of the same issues in the future, especially if they do not properly care for their oral health.
Individuals must still practice proper hygiene on a daily basis that includes teeth brushing and flossing. Keeping regular appointments every six months to see a licensed Houston dentist for a professional cleaning and thorough examination is also strongly advised. This keeps teeth clean, helps reduce the collection of oral bacteria in hard to reach places, and also enables a dentist to identify problem areas through early detection. However, if a patient experiences bleeding of the gums or has red and puffy gums in between regular dentist visits, they should make an appointment with their dentist as soon as possible.
Benefits of Laser Periodontal Treatments Over More Traditional Methods
As with most oral laser treatments, laser periodontal treatments are designed to be less invasive than surgical methods and generally fast track patients’ healing and recovery time afterward. Some of the primary benefits of laser periodontal treatments include:
- Reduces risk of related tooth and bone loss
- Cuts away diseased gum tissue
- Sterilizes the area by killing bacteria and germs
- Improves gum attachment (pocket reduction)
- Less invasive procedure that is non-surgical in nature
- Reduces the incidence of bleeding by coagulating blood vessels to form more effective clots
- Yields less pain post-procedure than surgical methods
- Requires little to no downtime for recovery
Depending on the patient and their unique oral health situation, general anesthetic may or may not be required. However, the use of local anesthetic and numbing agents is common.