Periodontal Therapy – Something to Smile About

Caring for your oral health includes regular teeth care and gum care. Neglecting your gums can eventually lead to periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, which is a culprit for the deterioration of your overall oral health. Periodontal disease affects 75% of adults over 35 years of age and is responsible for approximately 70% of all adult tooth loss. Since symptoms of periodontal disease oftentimes are unnoticeable, people never realize their mouth is under bacterial attack.

Highly recognized as a greatly progressive disorder, periodontal disease is triggered by preventable factors like plaque build-up, tobacco use, certain medications and stress, as well as unpreventable measures like systemic disease and fluctuating hormone levels during puberty, pregnancy or menopause. Research proves up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to gum disease.

When Does Periodontal Disease Start?

Periodontal disease begins when the bacteria in the sticky film which forms on the tooth surface, or plaque, causes gum inflammation. If the irritation is ignored, plaque will release toxins breaking down the natural fibers which hold your gums to your teeth, permitting even more bacteria and toxins to invade. Plaque deposits quickly harden into calculus or tartar, which is a rough, porous substance not removable with brushing. Over time, this progression can lead to severe inflammation, bone loss, gum recession and tooth loss.

Symptoms and signs include:

  • Red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums
  • Gum recession, or gums pulling away from teeth
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between the gum and tooth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Bite changes
  • Change in the fit of partial dentures

If you have noticed any of the above signs or symptoms, please make an appointment promptly! Together, we can win the battle against periodontal disease and maintain your wonderful, dazzling smile: gums and all. Now that’s something to smile about.

Laser Periodontal Therapy to Treat Gum Disease

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Our Dental Hygienists are all thoroughly experienced in providing periodontal solutions as well as maintaining periodontal health and are continually educated in the most up to date research and cutting edge technology. Each hygienist provides excellent dental care while also ensuring an exceptional level of comfort for their patients.

Our office offers Laser Periodontal Therapy for the treatment of gingivitis and/or periodontitis. Following are commonly asked questions about this technology.

How does it work?

Tartar, associated with inflamed and bleeding gums, is removed from the root surface of the tooth using an ultrasonic scaler and small instruments.

Then, a small amount of light energy from a laser is directed through a tiny fiber, which is gently placed between the gum and tooth. This light energy removes a tiny amount of diseased tissue and aids in reducing the bacteria associated with the disease. After the area is thoroughly cleaned, the body can heal the area naturally.

Does it hurt?

Although the procedure itself can be virtually painless, we may anesthetize the area for the patient’s comfort. In this way we can precisely direct the laser for treatment. Post-procedure discomfort is typically minimal and of short duration.

How long does it take?

Initial treatment is focused on scaling and the use of small instruments to remove the tartar. Then, the laser portion of the treatment is performed and normally only takes a few minutes. Depending on the severity of the patient’s periodontal disease, treatment may be accomplished in one office visit or in multiple visits. The estimated treatment time is reviewed with patients when we discuss their treatment plan.

Does this treatment cost more than traditional gum surgery?

Typically we use the same billing codes as traditional gum surgery and the laser treatment is generally no more expensive than traditional surgery. There are other factors which may affect the cost, such as the severity of the periodontal disease, and how many teeth are involved.

The dramatically increased comfort for our patients made the new system attractive to our office. We do encourage patients to take care of the need now to reduce further damage to their gums, teeth and bone.