We take our gums for granted. Yet they're the unsung heroes of our mouths. The soft cushion that nestles the teeth must be properly cared for as part of your regular regime to foster a healthful mind and body. Gingivitis, which is classified as mild periodontal disease, can be remedied quite effectively with regular dental visits.
Treating Gum Disease With Surgery
When unable to prevent gum disease, gum disease treatment is the only solution. In years past, gum surgery would involve several months of painful visits. This type of dental surgery could be incredibly invasive; subsequently, gum surgery was performed exclusively in small sections of the mouth (quadrants).
The patient would need time to heal, a follow-up appointment would be necessary for suture removal, and then more healing time was required before the next step was taken.
This lengthy process has recently been replaced with the invention of laser periodontal therapy (LPT). Laser gum treatment takes advantage of the technology now being used in laser dentistry.
This process is called laser assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP). There are several brands of lasers that perform this technique, including: PerioLase®, PulseMaster™ and the Diolase Plus™. All of these products are similar in function and design.
How Does it Work?
During laser gum surgery, the laser directs a small amount of energy -- about the thickness of three strands of hair -- between your gum and tooth. The laser removes the diseased tissue, eliminating the infection. All of this is done without making any type of incision.
After removing the diseased tissue, the laser immediately cauterizes the wound. Unlike traditional gum surgery, where bleeding gums are practically the norm, little to no bleeding is experienced during laser gum surgery. An added benefit of the laser is its ability to seal nerve endings. The entire process results in only minor discomfort making local anesthesia and possibly even sedation dentistry unnecessary.
The ease of laser gum surgery translates into a faster recovery. Traditional oral surgery requires a 2 to 4 week recovery time. With an LPT procedure, many people return to work within a day.
Better Than Before
These lasers were created by dentists, receiving extensive clinical trials before receiving Federal Drug Administration approval. This is set to reinvent periodontal surgery as we know it. (The laser has been approved for a myriad of dental treatment that formerly would have required drills, bits, possibly a ratchet of some kind and maybe even some duct tape. Ouch.)
Here are some more fabulous uses for the awe-inspiring LPT:
Cosmetic Reshaping of Gums -- The laser can actually adjust the gum line and improve your smile.
Treatment of Gum Disease -- Removes diseased tissue and as an added benefit of gum reshaping, allows you better access to the gum for improved oral hygiene.
Reduction of Hyperplastic Tissue -- Patients who wear dental braces, or are taking certain medicines, are prone to the overgrowth of gum tissue.
Access to Gum-Covered Decay -- In elderly patients, the gums can grow over tooth decay.