Laser DentistryDid you know most of the adult population in the United States will develop or already have some form of gum disease? Gum disease is a bacterial infection that most commonly occurs when oral hygiene isn’t quite as thorough as it should be. Also, some people are more at risk of developing gum disease because of existing health problems. It is a disease that deserves to be taken seriously because it is the biggest cause of tooth loss worldwide, and advanced gum disease, called periodontal disease is associated with many systemic diseases including diabetes and heart disease.

Here at Ivory Dental, our dentist Dr. Benjamin Hull will closely monitor the condition of your gums at every dental checkup. The idea is to detect and treat gum disease during its earliest stages. Although early gum disease can cause some symptoms including gums that bleed more easily when you brush or floss, these symptoms are frequently barely noticeable and are easily overlooked. Unless you have regular dental checkups, there’s a risk that early gum disease could develop into advanced periodontal disease.

Often, the very first stage of gum disease1 which is called gingivitis is quite easily treated and is entirely reversible.

Treating Gingivitis

If Dr. Hull does detect any symptoms of gingivitis, it is usually treatable by having your teeth cleaned professionally. Most of our patients are familiar with this process which is also called a scale and polish and removes all plaque and calculus buildup. The procedure eliminates the bacteria causing the infection, allowing the gums to heal more easily and effectively. Also, you will be given precise instructions on how to care for your teeth and gums at home and if needed our hygienist will work with you to improve your brushing and flossing techniques. Initially, your gums may slightly bleed when you brush and floss, but they will soon become healthier and stronger, and in just a few weeks they should no longer bleed as the infection will be entirely eliminated. Merely continuing with this simple oral care routine and ensuring you visit us regularly should be sufficient to keep your gums in great shape.

Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to receive prompt treatment for gingivitis. If the disease has progressed into periodontal disease, you will need more specialized care as the process to remove the bacteria causing the infection is more complicated. Our dental office uses a state-of-the-art dental laser to accomplish this more effectively, as this is a non-surgical, therapeutic approach that is highly effective in eliminating bacteria. Laser therapy is a much gentler treatment, and since its introduction, we’ve managed to reduce the number of periodontal surgeries by nearly half.

Why Laser Dentistry is More Effective

Usually, healthy gums fit snugly around your teeth, forming a nice tight seal that prevents bacteria in your mouth from getting into your body. When you have advanced periodontal disease, the gums begin to separate from your teeth, causing what is called gum pockets or periodontal pockets. These periodontal pockets can become quite deep and difficult to clean and are the perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Usually, these periodontal pockets are treated using a treatment called scaling and root planing, where plaque and calculus buildup are mechanically removed from exposed teeth and tooth roots. It is a tried and trusted procedure that is very effective. However, removing bacteria from deep in the periodontal pockets is much trickier without a dental laser. Laser dentistry2 can clean and sterilize deep periodontal pockets more efficiently than traditional methods and is often used in conjunction with conventional scaling and root planing. Once these periodontal pockets are thoroughly cleaned, using a dental laser helps the gums to heal more easily, shrinking the pocket size, so the gums fit more tightly around the teeth and are less able to harbor disease-causing bacteria.

Some of the Benefits of Having Laser Dentistry to Treat Gum Disease

There are numerous benefits in using a dental laser to treat periodontal disease, and perhaps the most important is the way the laser can help to kill bacteria in infected gums without harming healthy gum tissue.

Greater Accuracy

A dental laser is an extremely accurate tool, so if needed Dr. Hull can use it to remove infected material deep inside the periodontal pockets while preserving healthy tissues far more effectively than a conventional scalpel. As diseased tissue is removed, the energy produced by the laser automatically seals or cauterizes any small blood vessels, a process called thermocoagulation. The sheer accuracy of using laser dentistry helps to speed up treatment, so appointment times are shorter.

Minimally Invasive Treatment

Treatment is minimally invasive, and as vessels are sealed, the risk of infection during the healing process is reduced. The actual procedure produces far less swelling than less advanced gum treatments because the laser doesn’t damage the surrounding tissues. If you do need laser dentistry, you’ll find it much easier and more comfortable to tolerate. Often there is little need for pain medication after treatment, and if you do have any discomfort, it’s normally easily controlled with over-the-counter painkillers.

On-Going Maintenance

Often, non-surgical gum disease treatment is an ongoing process, and especially if your periodontal disease was relatively advanced. Laser dentistry can continue to help eliminate any bacterial buildup in your gums at regular intervals, combined with regular hygiene appointments.

There is no need to worry, as Dr. Hull will provide a complete and personalized treatment plan to help you maintain an optimal level of gum health. In between dental visits, you must look after your oral health by making sure you brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, and that you floss once-a-day. If needed, the hygienist can work with you to ensure your brushing and flossing routine is the very best it can be. Sometimes, receiving some additional guidance or having a practical demonstration can be enough to make all the difference and especially for flossing. We know lots of people find flossing awkward or think it will take too long, but once you know how it is really very quick. Otherwise, there are always alternative tools you could try that are easier to manipulate and which are equally as effective.