Roughly half of adults in the United States suffer from some form of periodontal (gum) disease. In most cases, the condition is relatively minor. All it takes to correct the issue is a few adjustments to a person’s oral hygiene routine. In more advanced cases, however, it may be necessary for a dentist to remove the diseased tissue to stop the infection and give the gums and the surrounding areas a chance to heal. That’s where periodontal laser therapy comes into the picture. This remarkable, minimally invasive procedure has the potential to save a suffering smile.
How Laser Therapy Works
A laser is a highly concentrated beam of light. The laser used in Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP) is able to cut through soft tissues, such as the gums. The procedure usually goes something like this:
- The dentist activates the laser and uses it to cut away diseased gum tissue, thus exposing the roots of the teeth.
- Harmful, bacteria-containing plaque and tartar are removed from the teeth, both above and below the gum line. This process is known as scaling.
- The dentist smooths out the roots of the teeth to make it more difficult for bacteria to cling to them.
- Once all of the diseased tissue and bacteria is gone, the gums will be able to reattach firmly to the teeth.
The Benefits of Laser Periodontal Therapy
Before laser therapy came to the fore in dentistry, many dentists used traditional tools, including scalpels and sutures, to treat gum disease. The procedure could result in significant bleeding, pain, and swelling. It also lacked precision and came with a long recovery time. Laser periodontics, on the other hand, creates a more comfortable, lower-risk patient experience.
- The laser cauterizes the tissue as it goes, which minimizes bleeding.
- Lasers are extremely precise, allowing the dentist to remove only as much tissue as is truly necessary. In fact, the Periolase laser that is used in some dental offices is specifically designed to detect inflamed and infected tissue.
- There is an extremely low risk of infection with laser therapy.
- The recovery time may be as short as 24 hours.
- 98 percent of patients who undergo LANAP are stable five years after treatment.
- Laser therapy may be less expensive than traditional periodontal surgery.
- No general anesthesia is necessary for laser therapy.
Does Laser Periodontal Therapy Come with Any Risks?
Laser periodontal therapy is a surgery, and there is no surgery that is completely risk-free. However, you can be sure that if you find a qualified professional to perform your procedure, there is a very small chance that you’ll suffer from any complications.
Don’t let gum disease ruin your smile! If you’ve noticed that your gums are sore, red, or receding, it’s time to visit your dentist to talk about how you can fight periodontal problems and achieve improved oral health.
About the Author
Dr. Robert L. Smith has been practicing dentistry for nearly 40 years. He has undergone extensive training that enables him to treat even complex dental problems. If you are suffering from gum disease or have other concerns about your oral health, Dr. Smith would be happy to help you. Contact our office at 954-564-7121.