Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a degenerative dental condition caused by a buildup of plaque. Plague, a sticky film on your teeth, hardens to form calculus or tartar. As this calculus accumulates, it hosts bacteria which begin to attack the soft tissues of your gums.
The early stages of gum disease are known as gingivitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Easy bleeding of the gums
- Bad breath
- A persistent, unpleasant taste in the mouth
If left untreated, this condition can develop into the more severe form of gum disease, periodontitis. In this stage, the bacteria in your mouth destroy both your gums and your supporting bone structure. Pockets form where the gum separate from the teeth and surrounding bone, creating areas of high bacterial concentration in your mouth. Periodontitis can cause tooth loss and bone deterioration, as well as receding gums.
Medical evidence shows a direct link between gum disease and other conditions, such as heart disease, strokes, osteoporosis, diabetes, and miscarriages.
Laser Periodontal Therapy (LANAP) is a laser-based technique for treating gum disease. This new technology replaces the need for our dentist to cut through your gums with scalpels, and does not require stitches, meaning a quicker recovery and minimum of bleeding, both of which help to preserve your gum tissue and reduce root exposure and sensitivity.
Gum disease treatments involve getting rid of the infection and closing the infected pockets between the gum and the teeth. With LANAP treatments, our dentist uses a digital dental laser to remove harmful bacteria and diseased tissue from the gum pocket by passing a laser light between the gum and the tooth.
Though laser gum treatments are minimally invasive and cause very little discomfort, our dentist begins each treatment by providing a local anesthetic. A tiny laser fiber – about the thickness of 3 human hairs – is then inserted between the tooth and the gum to clear away the diseased tissue. Then our dentist uses an ultrasonic scaler and small instruments to remove calculus from the root surface of your tooth before once again directing laser light energy between your gum and tooth. This reduces the bacteria in the infected area and stimulates your body’s existing cells to grow new root surface coating and connective tissues.
After removing the diseased tissue, the laser immediately cauterizes the wound, meaning that you experience little to no bleeding, and that the nerve endings are sealed, leading to a minimum of discomfort following your procedure. This also hastens the healing process.
Laser dentistry comes with several benefits. Laser dental treatments produce less bleeding, less swelling, less tissue removal, and less recovery time than traditional gum disease treatments and surgeries. This minimally invasive treatment is often appealing to patients who may otherwise avoid seeking treatment dur to fear, anxiety, or a prolonged treatment time.
Doctors have found a direct link between gum disease and debilitating and life-threatening systemic diseases, including heart disease, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, kidney failure, and Alzheimer’s disease. Gum disease can also have a negative effect on pregnancies. When the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth become inflamed, it can become a portal of entry for the bacteria present in periodontal pockets.
Thanks to the use of soft tissue lasers, we now have the ability to combat periodontal disease at a microscopic level. Using focused light power, these lasers target bacterial colonies that are not otherwise accessible, destroying the bacteria that cause inflammation and gum disease. By simply circling the teeth with a non-cutting laser, our dentist can drastically reduce the harmful bacteria present in the mouth, immediately eliminating billions of bacteria. While the bacterial levels will slowly grow back, you will have the time to allow your mouth to heal, your gum tissues to reattach, and your periodontal pockets to shrink. A good oral health care routine at home will also help to prevent the return of your periodontal disease.
Please be aware that LBR is not a replacement or for other treatments, but an additional procedure to help improve your oral and general health.
At Arizona Dental, we recommend that all our patients have their teeth decontaminated with a dental laser prior to cleaning appointments. There are several benefits to regular dental decontamination, including:
- Reducing or eliminating bacteria that can be introduced to our bloodstream
- Preventing cross-contamination of infection in different areas of your mouth
- Destroying the bacteria that cause periodontal disease before they can cause damage
- Boosting your immune system
- Improving your overall health
The laser decontamination process is painless, and typically takes between 5-10 minutes.