Lasers are pretty cool.
Musicians use them in concerts to add to their performances.
Scientists use them for research.
Beauticians use them for hair removal.
And dentists — yes, dentists — use lasers to treat and fight gum disease.
For patients, laser treatment is safe, effective, and less painful than surgical treatment options. This is just one of reasons we encourage you to contact Advanced Dental Associates if you have concerns about your gum health.
Our dentists in San Antonio are helping patients every day, and our dental laser treatment is just one of the many ways we do this.
The Old Way Of Treating Gum Disease
There was a time when oral surgery was the only option for treating gum disease.
One example of this was called flap surgery or pocket reduction surgery. When you have advanced gum disease, you can have pockets inside your gums. These pockets are places where bacteria can build plaque and tartar where it’s harder to remove.
To fix this, dentists would cut into or through your gums so they could reach the pocket. This also meant removing more gum tissue than necessary to make sure all the infected tissue was removed.
This caused bleeding, and patients needed days to recover from the procedure. Swelling, pain, and sensitivity are among the possible side effects patients might experience after this treatment.
The New Gum Disease Treatment
In a literal sense, dental lasers have brought gum disease treatment into the 21st century.
Instead of cutting into your infected gum tissue, we use LANAP®. This is short for laser-assisted new attachment procedure.
To perform this gum disease treatment, we use the PerioLase®. This device uses a laser fiber that is the width of three human hairs. We are able to insert it between your gums and your teeth.
Then, we can use the laser to “zap” the bacteria that created your infection. Since we don’t have to cut into your gums, there is a lot less bleeding.
Another benefit of the laser is that it allows us to preserve more of your healthy gum tissue. The laser seals your tissue as it removes the infection.
With less cutting and less trauma to your gums, your recovery will go by much faster than it would with surgical treatment.
Scaling And Root Planing
We are pleased that we can offer LANAP® for our patients, but many patients will benefit from simpler treatment options.
Scaling and root planing remains a standard treatment for many people. This is a step beyond the routine cleaning you would receive during a regular visit to our office.
As with laser treatment, your dentist or hygienist will need to get under your gumline to remove the infection.
You may receive a local anesthetic to numb the soft tissue that has been affected, or you may want to try one of our sedation options instead. The purpose of scaling and root planing is to remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar formations from the roots of your teeth.
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is to follow the recommendations of the American Dental Association.
Brush your teeth twice each day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride. Scrub your teeth for two minutes and be sure to clean them on all sides to remove as many bacteria and as much plaque as you can.
You need to floss every day as well. Flossing is necessary because your toothbrush can’t clean between your teeth or below your gums.
You also should schedule at least two cleanings at Advanced Dental Associates each year. This allows us to remove any plaque and tartar buildup that you may have missed, and we can watch for the symptoms of gum disease.
Those symptoms include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from your teeth
- Gums that are sore and tender
- Gums with pocket formations
- Gums with pus leaking from them
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth.
If left untreated, gum disease can do more than harm your gums. It can start to attack your jawbone. If this bone becomes damaged, your teeth may start to feel loose, or they may fall out.
Ask For Help
Get checked as soon as you can if you or someone you know is experiencing gum disease symptoms. All you have to do is contact Advanced Dental Associates to reach a dentist in San Antonio who can help.