Laser Assisted Periodontal Therapy

Periodontal disease or gum disease is an infection of the bone and supporting structures of your teeth. Before 30 years of age, decay is the major reason for tooth loss, and after 30 years of age, gum disease becomes the major reason for tooth loss. It is estimated that over 80 percent of the adult population has gum disease to some degree.

Periodontal bacteria can cause an inflammatory reaction that leads to the destruction of the fibers connecting teeth to bone, creating spaces that dentists and hygienists call periodontal pockets. While everyone has some degree of pocketing, the normal depths are 1-3 mm. You can keep pockets that are 3 mm or less clean by yourself with routine brushing, flossing, and rinsing. However, if you have pockets deeper than 3 mm, it becomes impossible for you to clean and maintain them properly. As a result, debris and bacteria accumulate at the bottom of these pockets, leading to chronic gum infection. You may have noticed a bad taste or odor in your mouth at times due to these infections. As we age, we become more susceptible to periodontal disease. Without treatment, your teeth will lose enough support to become loose, painful, and eventually lost.

Laser-assisted periodontal therapy is a conservative, non-surgical treatment for your periodontal disease. With proper home care and your participation, this procedure can often alleviate the problem. Your dentist or hygienist will go around each involved tooth to remove any debris and calcified deposits adhering to your teeth in a process called scaling and root planing. A good analogy to this part of the cleaning is like removing barnacles off a pier. Scaling and root planing will remove the mechanical irritants to your gums and supporting bone and also remove a major reservoir of periodontal bacteria.

After removing the tartar and calculus, a laser is used to selectively remove diseased or infected tissues lining the pockets around your teeth. At the same time, the laser will kill the bacteria causing your gum disease and promote healing of your gums around your teeth. Some lasers can help increase circulation and collagen formation at the bottom of your periodontal pockets and help revive or rejuvenate attachment. This specialized treatment is usually performed multiple times over a period of a few weeks.

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