Laser Periodontal Therapy
It is important to take good care of your gums just like you do your teeth. If you experience problems with your gums, you may have to see a periodontist. Periodontics is the branch of dentistry that focuses on the supporting structures of the teeth, i.e. the gums. While there is some debate surrounding the efficacy of lasers in dentistry, we believe that lasers for dental procedures and for periodontal treatments greatly reduce the time in the dentist’s chair and minimize discomfort. If you would like to learn more about how lasers are used in periodontics, please contact Dr. Angela E. Mulrooney today. We will schedule a new patient oral health examination and evaluate the health of your mouth to determine if you would benefit from laser treatments.
Scaling and Root Planing, Then and Now
Before lasers came onto the dental scene, we treated gum disease with a procedure called “scaling and root planing,” which usually caused some discomfort to our patients. In the past, scaling and root planing was typically performed by a dental hygienist using hand instruments, and the goal of the procedure was and still is to remove all plaque and tartar. However, since traditional scaling and root planing does not remove the biofilm that houses the bacteria, the effectiveness of the procedure has always been in question. Now, lasers allow our dental team to treat periodontal disease with the most advanced technology possibly, and also allow us to eliminate what is causing the problem rather than just managing the condition.
For laser scaling and root planing, a laser is used in combination with a micro-ultrasonic hand instrument that detaches the biofilm from the surface of the teeth. The swirling motion created by the micro-ultrasonic creates a tornado-like effect, which attacks the biofilm.
Once the biofilm is removed, the laser is used to sterilize the periodontal pockets and remove any infected tissue. As the old tissue is removed, microscopic clots form, and the body’s natural healing response takes over. Then, the tissue reattaches to the bone, and the gums return to a healthy state. The magnetic light of the laser is designed to seek out infected tissue only, so the laser does not harm healthy tissue. We do sometimes offer local anesthesia, but most patients say it’s not necessary because the laser provides a warm, soothing sensation while it does its work. After the laser treatment, the hygienist will apply vitamin E over your gums to cool the treated areas and encourage healing.
You will often hear people state that scaling and root planing is expensive, but because the laser treatment removes the infection, the likelihood that you will have to pay for periodontal surgery is greatly reduced. Actually, the cost is significantly less than other alternatives. Also, the cost of the procedure is contingent upon the number of sessions necessary to remove all the infection. When our dental hygienist designs your treatment plan, the number of sessions will be estimated there, and we can discuss financing options we offer. Spending the money now will certainly prevent more costly procedures later.
If you would like to learn more about periodontal laser therapy, please contact Dr. Mulrooney’s dental office today to schedule a new patient oral health examination.