Can Light Defeat This Dreadful Disease?
About half of Americans over the age of 30 now have periodontal disease. Most people do not know that they have it because it is often painless in the early stages. In the past, treatment was often painful and recovery can be long – but the laser has changed it all.
The use of the laser in dentistry has been applied to more and more treatments. One laser has been approved by the FDA specifically for periodontal laser treatment. Many dentists and periodontists are already using them in their offices.
Periodontal disease is such that it should be treated as soon as you know you have it. It is caused by bacteria that are normally found in your mouth. Once the bacteria get into your gums you can expect some symptoms. At first, you will likely see that your gums bleed when you brush or floss. They will also be red or inflamed – this is gingivitis. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing is usually all you need to do to get rid of it.
If your oral care habits do not get better (gum disease is usually caused by poor oral care), the gum disease will take on a whole new level of trouble. You now have periodontitis. Over time, you are apt to see the following symptoms:
- More inflammation in the gums
- More bleeding of the gums
- Spaces developing between teeth
- Gums are receding which makes your teeth look longer
- Pus can be seen at the gum line
- Bad breath
- Chewing on food is painful
- Teeth may be loose.
The traditional way of treating periodontal disease is for the periodontist to clean out the pockets of bacteria and inflammation in a process called scaling and root planing. This non-surgical treatment requires the dentist to manually remove it and smooth the roots of the teeth to help prevent the bacteria from easily reattaching to the teeth. Antibiotics may also be prescribed.
For a more serious problem, there is flap surgery. This surgical treatment cuts open the pockets, removes the bacteria and inflammation, and then the pockets are stitched close to the teeth, helping to keep the bacteria out. Both of the above methods are painful and requires about two weeks before the gums will heal. General anesthesia is often used for this treatment.
Laser Periodontal Treatment
The laser changes the way the treatment is conducted and the results, making it the far better option when needing periodontal treatment. In order to destroy the harmful bacteria, the periodontist places some fiber optic cables (very thin) into the pockets and the laser light kills up to 99.9 percent of them. Then, they are removed from the pocket.
Infected and dead tissue can also be removed with the laser. Because the light is only effective on darker objects, the laser does not harm healthy gum tissue. A scalpel can do this, but it requires that a larger amount of tissue be removed.
After destroying the bacteria and diseased tissue, the teeth need to be cleaned. An ultrasonic scaler is used to smooth out the surface of the tooth roots to help prevent bacteria from reattaching to the teeth.
There is also very little blood loss because the laser cauterizes the blood vessels instantly. At the same time, the laser will produce almost no pain at all because it also seals the nerves in the same way. This enables many people to be able to return to work right after completing the surgery.
The Laser Advantage
Besides doing a more thorough job in destroying the bacteria and removing less tissue, there are also some other significant advantages. The laser light will also help in the healing process. Due to less trauma to the teeth and gums, healing is faster. The laser also destroys potentially harmful bacteria in the area, allowing the healing process to have fewer problems.
Another advantage of using lasers for this treatment is that it is used to help seal the gums against the teeth. No stitching is necessary. The light warms the stem cells in the pockets and creates a sticky layer that sticks the gum pocket tissue to the teeth, helping to keep the bacteria out.
Candidates for Laser Gum Treatment
The candidates for laser treatment for periodontal disease are rather simple – anyone can get it. If you are diagnosed with periodontitis levels, II, III, or IV, you are a candidate. Because the laser immediately stops blood flow, anyone can receive the treatment, including people with diabetes, hemophilia, AIDS, HIV, etc., and those who are on blood thinners.
Although there may be minimal or no bleeding due to the laser, the clots can still be dislodged. This can lead to bleeding. The periodontist will provide special instructions that need to be followed for faster complete healing.
If you have periodontitis and are looking for a nearly pain-free and better treatment, periodontal disease treatment with laser is what you are looking for. Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS MBA, a Board Certified Periodontist, provides periodontal laser treatment in his Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Mocking bird/SMU, and Grapevine, TX offices. Most dental health plans are accepted. For a free dental consultation or information about periodontal treatment, you can contact his ToothHQ office today at 214-731-0123