Non Surgical Laser Gum Treatment
Periodontal disease is an infection and involves the breakdown of the surrounding soft and hard tissues of the teeth. Gum (periodontal) disease ultimately leads to tooth loss. I realize that this is the end physical result of systemic health breakdowns. Thus total periodontal treatment encompasses not only the localization and manual treatment of oral tissue but also ‘whole-body therapies’. You can do all the cleanings, root planings, surgeries, and laser treatments that you want for periodontal disease conditions but if the underlying imbalances (nutrition, toxicity, digestion, etc…) are not addressed the periodontal condition will recur.
For decades periodontal disease has been treated with root planning (smoothing of the root surfaces) to remove detrimental “biofilms”, putrefying food, pus, and destructive bacteria. Without treatment, tooth loss becomes a reality. With treatment gum disease can often be stabilized. Use of laser therapy for periodontal disease is coexistent with root planning.
The mechanics of laser therapy involve energy in the form of light. The laser actually converts light to heat and in turn this heat cauterizes and vaporizes the surrounding diseased soft tissues. The light energy comes from stimulated electrons that expel photons (light particles) and the more the electrons are stimulated the more photons (heat energy) are produced. Laser energy falls into the category of radiation. It is at the far right end of the electromagnetic spectrum producing non-ionized wavelengths that do not affect cellular DNA. However, the invisible wavelengths are harmful to the naked eye. Therefore, the patient, assistant, and the hygienist are required to wear protective eyewear specific to the laser wavelength used.
Due to the laser treatment creating a subgingival (below the gum line) burn, the vessels and nerves have been cauterized and the patient feels no discomfort. However, it is important to note that three days after laser treatment the patient may experience some mild to moderate discomfort. This is expected because new fibers are beginning to grow back giving the patient sensations. This minor discomfort can be controlled with a mild analgesic (over the counter pain reliever), homeopathics like arnica and traumeel, and/or herbs like aloe vera.
Our office uses the Opus 10 diode laser in conjunction with scaling/root planning procedures. We do not charge the patient additional fees for the usage of the laser because in our treatment module it is part of our necessary ‘phase one periodontal therapy”. This is especially necessary with the evolving understanding between oral disease/infection and systemic disease/infection. Therefore, any means by which a dentist may limit this two-way transference of pathogens and inflammatory mediators needs to be used. That is why our practice has taken the time to learn proper laser protocols and incurred the expenses of using a laser to augment our phase one periodontal therapy.
In no way is the laser every to be used instead of scaling/root planning in phase one periodontal therapy or especially any more invasive procedures or surgeries. The combination of scaling/root planning in our phase one periodontal therapy does not exclude the need for possible referral to a specialist if the therapy does not control the patient’s periodontal disease.