Periodontal Disease: Diagnosis, Treatment, & Care
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is something that affects a large portion of the population. It is a disease that causes pockets or spaces in the gum tissue, allowing bacteria to enter. The build-up of plaque causes the gums to recede and form these pockets. Normal brushing cannot reach this build-up and over time, if not treated, the pockets continue to get deeper leading to bone loss and other complications.
- Diagnosis: Gingivitis is the beginning stages of periodontal disease. Bleeding when brushing is a sign of this, as is inflammation and tenderness. A small probe will be entered between the tooth and gums to measure the depth of any pockets that may be present. We provide periodontal probing at our regular dental cleaning appointments.
- Treatment: Gingivitis and periodontal disease must be treated to prevent further destruction of teeth, gums, bone, and to prevent tooth loss. Depending on the extent of the disease, a deep cleaning and scaling will be suggested and will typically be done with local numbing. When the build-up has been removed from below the gum line, over time the tissue will heal, coming back stronger and causing the pockets to get smaller.
- Laser Gum Treatment: Laser Periodontal Therapy offers a proven, vastly less painful and less invasive treatment alternative to conventional scalpel/suture flap surgery for gum disease. See below for more information.
- Maintenance: Follow-up appointments will be recommended to keep an eye on healing progress. If improvement is not seen over time, a visit to a Periodontics Specialist may be in order. Medicated rinses, consistent flossing and using an electric toothbrush are some of the home treatments suggested as well.
Laser Gum Therapy
What is LANAP? (Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure)
Laser-assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP) is a patented therapy designed for the treatment of periodontitis. This therapy and the laser used to perform it have been in use for more than a decade. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the LANAP protocol for the treatment of periodontitis, or gum disease, in 2004.
Laser Periodontal Therapy offers a proven, vastly less painful and less invasive treatment alternative to conventional scalpel/suture flap surgery for gum disease. This technology provides a simple and comfortable patient experience with excellent clinical results. By removing their fear, the dental community has the opportunity to bring patients back to seek treatment for their gum disease.
How is this Laser Theray Treatment Performed?
After your teeth and gums are totally numb, a small laser fiber is inserted into the space between your tooth and gums. The energy from this laser light kills the bacteria that are causing your gum disease and selectively removes only the diseased tissue, leaving behind the healthy gum tissue. An ultrasonic cleaning instrument is used to remove the tartar from the root and tooth surfaces, washing away the debris with a steady flow of medicated solution. Finally, the laser is again passed around the gum tissue to form a natural bandage around the teeth sealing them from re infection.
With the gum tissue completely numb, the treatment is essentially pain free as is the recovery period. Traditional periodontal surgery with scalpels and sutures can often lead to a recovery period that can be quite uncomfortable. In addition, 98% of laser-treated patients do not have further disease progression after five years while it is estimated only 5% reportedly do not have further disease progression after traditional gum surgery.
Is Having Gum Disease Really Dangerous?
ABSOLUTELY. Periodontal disease is one of dentistry’s biggest sleeper issues. For patients who go undiagnosed or untreated, the effects can be debilitating. Unfortunately, the disease’s hidden risks often go undetected until it’s too late.
A chronic disease that can deteriorate the gums and the bones that support the teeth, periodontal disease is caused primarily by plaque – the sticky substance that forms on teeth and is full of harmful bacteria – but can also be triggered by factors like smoking, pregnancy, genetic predisposition, stress, medications like antidepressants and oral contraceptives, teeth grinding, diabetes, poor nutrition and other systemic diseases. Recent research, in fact, suggests a stronger link than ever between physical and oral health. It’s important for patients, their physicians and their general dentists to know what to look for and how it can affect overall health.
For more on how dangerous Gum Disease can be, watch this video by famous performer Whoopi Goldberg.
Plattsburgh NY 12901