It’s amazing how much technology can change our daily lives.
Forty years ago cell phones were the size of bricks, and few people could afford them. Today, most people carry what is essentially a mini computer with them at all times.
Likewise, it wasn’t that long ago that work with lasers was mostly confined to lab experiments. Today, we have dental lasers we can hold in one hand to treat gum disease.
Our dentists in San Antonio, TX, believe our patients deserve the best possible treatments. There’s a reason we call ourselves Advanced Dental Associates. And today we want to explain how laser dentistry has changed how we treat periodontal disease.
How Lasers Can Be Good For Your Gums
The American Dental Hygienists Association has reported that as many as 4 in 5 people have some form or gum disease. Now, not all of these people have advanced gum disease, but those that do can benefit from LANAP® treatment at our San Antonio dentist office.
LANAP is an acronym for Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure. It allows our team to treat serious gum infections without surgery. We think everyone would agree that that is a good thing.
The first step is removing the infected gum tissue from your mouth. Using a hand-held laser, we can evaporate this tissue. One of the benefits of the laser is that it allows our dentists to precisely target the infected tissue so more of your healthy tissue is preserved.
After the infected tissue is gone, our dental professionals then remove any plaque or tartar buildup around the roots of your teeth. This reduces your risk of a recurring infection.
When the plaque and tartar have been removed, the laser is used once again to remove any remaining infected tissue at the bottom of the pocket around your teeth. This has the added benefit of sterilizing the affected area.
Lastly, the laser stimulates the tissue to form blood clots. These clots seal the area, which helps to keep out bacteria as you heal. No stitches required!
Why Lasers Are Better Than Surgery
For a long time, oral surgery was considered the best way to take care of advanced gum disease.
This meant using a scalpel to cut infected gum tissue from the patient’s mouth. The scalpel isn’t as precise as the laser, however. As a result, dentists often had to cut out healthy tissue as well to be sure all the infected tissue had been removed.
Using a scalpel also meant bleeding. That cutting usually required stitches and a longer recovery period, too (when compared to laser treatment).
Signs Of Gum Disease
To be clear, LANAP is not needed for every case of gum disease. If you make regular visits to Advanced Dental Associates for dental cleanings and exams, we will be looking for any signs or symptoms of gum disease.
This gives us a better chance of finding an infection in the early stages, known as gingivitis when treatment can be relatively simple. The signs of gingivitis include gums that bleed when your brush or floss and gums that appear red and swollen.
When left untreated, gingivitis can become periodontitis, which is an advanced form of gum disease. There are different kinds of periodontitis, which we won’t be discussing today. The main thing to learn are its symptoms:
▹ Gums that feel tender or sore
▹ Bad breath or a bad taste that doesn’t go away
▹ Receding gums
▹ Teeth that feel loose in their sockets
If you notice one or more of those symptoms, you should make an appointment with us as soon as you are able.
Don’t Let Gum Disease Ruin Your Smile
Preventive care is the best way to avoid the problems that come with gum disease. This is one of the reasons dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice daily (for two minutes each time) and cleaning between your teeth once per day. You can do this with any interdental cleaner that works for you, whether that is dental floss, a water flosser, or something else.
Last — but certainly not least — you should make regular appointments for dental cleanings and exams. You can do this by calling Advanced Dental Associates at (210) 819-5233 or by filling out our online form.