Laser-Assisted Periodontal Treatment
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is an infection in the gums and bone that support a tooth. This condition is very common and some studies indicate that nearly half of Americans are affected by inflammation in the gum tissue. While patients often do not experience severe pain until they are in the late stages of gum disease, uncomfortable symptoms typically include swelling, bleeding, redness, and tenderness. With advanced laser-assisted periodontal therapy, we can restore the total health of your teeth and gums while alleviating painful symptoms.
- What is Gum Disease?
- Periodontal Disease Causes
- Periodontal Disease Symptoms
- Treating Periodontal Disease with Laser Therapy
- Periodontal Disease Treatment
- At-Home Gum Disease Treatment
- Periodontal Treatment and Whole Body/Health Connection
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is late-stage gum disease. Gum disease first starts with bacteria buildup along the gums that leads to the formation of plaque and tartar. This is known as gingivitis. If brushing and flossing fail to eliminate the bacteria/plaque and both start to penetrate below the gumline, gingivitis can progress to a more serious condition called periodontitis. At this stage of gum disease, the bone and connective fibers supporting the teeth begin to break down, causing the gums to separate from the teeth and root surfaces. With the breakdown of tissue a pocket of space may form at the base of the teeth and provide additional hiding places for bacteria. In the final stage of periodontal disease, advanced periodontitis, the connective tissues are completely destroyed and the teeth may shift and loosen. This can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Consequently, periodontal disease is currently the leading cause of tooth loss among adults.
What Causes Gum Disease?
The bacteria buildup that can lead to the early stages of gum disease is often caused by:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Certain illnesses and/or medications
- Genetic predisposition to gum disease
While gum disease becomes more common as people age, it can affect people across all age groups if they exhibit any of these risk factors.
What are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
The initial stages of periodontal disease are usually characterized by red, swollen, or bleeding gums. If you see blood when you brush or floss your teeth, this is an indication of early gum disease. At this stage, daily oral hygiene and/or a professional cleaning may be enough to eliminate bacteria and alleviate your symptoms. If the condition worsens though, you may start to experience pain. The gums may also recede, exposing the root of the tooth and making them more sensitive and vulnerable to decay. As periodontal disease advances, it can cause more concerning symptoms, such as:
- Loose, separating teeth
- Food impaction and pus between the teeth and gums
- Changes in the way your teeth come together when biting
- A constant bad taste or smell in your mouth
- Systemic or whole body manifestations, such as cardiovascular disease
If you have any of the above symptoms, you should schedule a consultation with an Encinitas dentist immediately. Fortunately, we offer state-of-the-art laser dentistry options that can remove infected and diseased tissue from the gum pocket and cleanse the gums without surgery, cutting, or stitches.
Laser Therapy for Periodontal Treatment
At our Encinitas practice, our team of highly skilled dentists can diagnose the condition of your gums while our registered dental hygienist can treat gum disease with laser assisted periodontal therapy, a newer and less invasive technique than traditional gum disease treatments. This state-of-the-art option can remove infected and diseased tissue from the gum pocket and cleanse the gums without surgery, cutting, or stitches. Laser Bacterial Reduction (LBR) sterilizes the gum pocket and kills the local bacteria under the gums. This can help your body fight off the bacteria that causes gum disease and promote gum tissue healing.
What is Laser Treatment for Periodontal Disease Like?
Periodontal laser treatment can be performed on the same day as your appointment. Our sophisticated BIOLASE® dental lasers are used during deep cleanings as well as scaling and root planing treatments, which involve your dental hygienist cleaning your teeth one-by-one to remove plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline. The laser works to remove dead tissue, kill bacteria, and sterilize the gum pocket to restore a healthier mouth. Laser dentistry can also treat more advanced gum disease in lieu of periodontal surgery and promote immediate healing of the gum tissue as well as bone regeneration.
Can I Undergo Gum Disease Treatment at Home?
You can only treat gum disease at home if your symptoms are in their early stages. Patients who have gingivitis that has not yet progressed to more severe periodontitis sometimes find that good oral hygiene, such as brushing, flossing, and rinsing frequently, can improve their symptoms and prevent plaque buildup. However, once bacteria begins to infiltrate your bone and connective tissue, professional treatment from a dentist is typically the only way to remove infections, heal your gums, and repair any damage.
How Does Periodontal Disease Affect Your Body and Health?
While it is not uncommon for patients to be more concerned with cavities rather than the condition of their gums, advanced gum disease can cause surprising and potentially serious consequences for your health and well-being. The gums protect the teeth similar to how the bones safeguard your internal organs; when the gums recede from plaque buildup, bacteria can seep into the nerves, blood vessels, and connective fibers of the tooth root, often destroying the underlying bone. If the inflammation and infection continues to spread, experts believe that bacteria can enter your bloodstream and cause major damage to the immune system and internal organs. For this reason, periodontal disease has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. These systemic health risks are usually associated with the later stages of gum disease, but early treatment of gingivitis is essential to preventing initial bacteria buildup from worsening.
If you have poor gum health, our experienced dentists at Encinitas Cosmetic Dentistry can help. Please contact our practice to speak to a friendly member of our team or to schedule a consultation.