For decades, the first line of treatment for the early stages of gum disease has been a procedure called scaling and root planing. During this treatment, tartar deposits below the gumline are scraped away using a specialized dental tool, then the root is smoothed to allow the gums to reattach. Scaling and root planing is safe and effective, but with laser dentistry, we now have a more modern and comfortable way to treat gum disease. Here’s what you need to know.
Understanding Gum Disease
Gum disease, or periodontitis, is the chronic infection and inflammation of the gums. While the earliest stages of the disease present in the gum tissue, usually in the form of red or purple gums and bleeding, gum disease quickly begins to impact overall oral health. It leads to bad breath and over time teeth can begin to loosen, shift in the mouth, and eventually fall out. There have even been recent studies linking periodontitis and heart disease.
Plaque is the precursor to gum disease. If it’s not brushed or flossed away, it can harden into deposits called tartar. Tartar deposits release damaging acid into the mouth and harbor bacteria—and unlike plaque, tartar can only be removed with professional cleaning. When tartar collects just below the gum-line it forms something we periodontists call pockets. Essentially, these are gaps between the gum and tooth where the gum tissue has started to pull away from the root. Pockets make it easy for more tartar and debris to collect; as the pockets deepen, the bacteria they contain begins to attack the supporting structures of the teeth.
Laser Dentistry for Gum Disease
Scaling and root planing is a terrific treatment option for gum disease, but many patients with dental anxiety delay scheduling the procedure, anticipating pain, swelling, and bleeding. With laser dentistry, we can reduce the size of pockets and minimize bleeding and trauma to the gums. And the treatment is more comfortable for patients, helping ease their anxiety. In fact, with dental lasers, treatment is so comfortable that we often don’t even need to use anesthesia.
Because dental lasers are high-energy beams, they effectively sterilize and detoxify the pockets, killing the harmful bacteria that attacks supporting structures of the teeth and causes bad breath. They can reduce the depth of the pockets or eliminate them altogether and help support the regeneration and new attachment of bone, ligaments, and gum connective tissue. Benefits of laser dentistry for gum disease include:
- The possibility for better treatment outcomes
- Less anxiety for patients
- No noise from ultrasonic dental instruments
- Less bleeding, swelling, and trauma to the gums and surrounding structures
- Faster healing time
- Maximum gum reattachment to close pockets
Periodontal laser treatment is often covered by dental insurance plans. If you’re not sure if your insurance company covers it, we can help check your benefits.
Learn More About Our Laser Dentistry Options
Periodontal Associates offers a variety of laser dentistry procedures for the gums, including pocket reduction, crown lengthening, and gum contouring. To learn more, contact our Framingham office at 508-875-6185 or our Newton office at 617-964-6185 to schedule a consultation.