Laser periodontal therapy is a dental procedure that all adults should be knowledgable of. According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 47 percent of adults age 30 and over have periodontal disease. For those who are not aware, periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease, is a condition whereby the gums and bones responsible for supporting teeth become infected and inflamed. While we are on the topic, it is worth noting that the probability of being diagnosed with some form of this disease increases with age. In fact, the same CDC study revealed that about 70 percent of adults age 65 and older have early or advanced periodontal disease.
While this oral health problem can affect men and women alike, it is far more common among women. For reference, about 56 percent of women in the U.S. have some form of periodontal disease compared to 38 percent of men. Along with infection and inflammation, this same oral health problem can also lead to tooth loss, say many Scottsdale preventive dentistry dentists, including those with Trinity Dental Care. Fortunately, professional dental treatments can prevent the disease from progressing and ultimately resulting in tooth loss, one of which is laser periodontal therapy.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Before discussing the benefits of laser periodontal therapy as a treatment modality for periodontal disease, let’s take a moment to go over what causes this oral health problem in the first place. Long before individuals ever develop periodontal disease, they first develop what is known as gingivitis, which is a mild form of gum disease that is treatable. Aside from loose teeth, the tell-tale signs of gingivitis are very similar to that of periodontal disease. Common symptoms of gingivitis, according to an article published by the Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit American academic medical center based in Rochester, MN, include irritated, red, and swollen gums. Additional symptoms may also include halitosis, receding gums, and tender gums. The longer gingivitis goes untreated, the more likely it is to give way to periodontal disease. And the odds of it happening is higher among women, particularly those over the age of 30. Some of the most common causes of gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal disease if not treated, include the following:
- A chronic dry mouth
- Vitamin C deficiency
- Certain prescription drugs
It is worth noting that hormonal imbalances, especially among women, can increase the risk of developing gingivitis and eventually periodontal disease. And it does not end there as some individuals, men and women alike, are genetically predisposed to gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Dentists in Scottsdale Detail Treatments Available to Those With Periodontal Disease
Now that we are a little more up to speed when it comes to the symptoms and causes of periodontal disease, let’s turn our attention to treatments. For years, many dentists have recommended scaling and root planing to patients diagnosed with periodontal disease. And while effective, these dental procedures, even with a local anesthetic, can be quite painful. The scaling aspect entails scraping away plaque and tartar on the tooth’s surface and below the gum line. The second part of the procedure, which is planing, entails smoothing out the tooth’s roots to prevent plaque and tartar from reattaching below the gum line. Lastly, to fight off infection, dentists will prescribe erythromycin, spiramycin, azithromycin, or a similar antibiotic. Turning our attention back to laser periodontal therapy, many dentists in Scottsdale, AZ, including those that are a part of the Scottsdale preventive dentistry network, are hailing it as a breakthrough treatment for those diagnosed with periodontal disease. And they are not too far off base in that assertion as it is minimally invasive and does not require a general anesthetic.
What Is Laser Periodontal Therapy?
In short, laser periodontal therapy is a dental procedure in which a dentist will use lasers to remove infected and diseased gum tissue from the oral cavity. From there, they will also use traditional dental instruments to smooth out the tooth’s roots, which helps prevent the plaque and tartar that forms below the gum line from reattaching to them. The type of lasers used in performing periodontal therapy will generally include one or more of the following:
- Erbium lasers
- Nd: YAG lasers
- Diode lasers
- CO2 lasers
All in all, the goal of laser periodontal therapy is the same as traditional scaling and planing in that it helps shrink periodontal pockets and improve overall oral health while simultaneously preventing tooth loss. That said, many dentists will use scaling, root planing, and laser therapy to achieve the best possible results for their patients. That said, this multi-pronged approach offers several benefits, some of which include the following:
- Relatively painless
- Less bleeding
- Less loss of gum tissue
- Minimal healing time
What to Expect After Undergoing Laser Therapy
Some people who have undergone laser periodontal therapy have reported experiencing mild discomfort after their procedure. However, this is usually short-lived and can be eased by taking over-the-counter pain relievers. As far as gum appearance, after the oral cavity has had enough time to heal, most people will find that their gums are fitting a little tighter around their teeth and that their periodontal pockets are no longer quite as deep. It is worth noting that, much like traditional periodontal treatments, some people will develop gum infection after undergoing laser periodontal therapy. That being said, practicing good oral hygiene, taking antibiotics if prescribed, not smoking, and consuming a healthy diet can all go a long way toward keeping infection at bay.
In summary, laser periodontal therapy offers numerous benefits to those diagnosed with periodontal disease, including preventing tooth loss. To learn more about this breakthrough dental procedure and whether or not it is right for you, consider scheduling an appointment with Trinity Dental Care today.