Gum Disease

When left untreated, periodontal (gum) disease can inevitably lead to tooth loss. In fact, nearly 70 percent of tooth loss can be linked to periodontal disease. The term "periodontal" means "around the tooth." Therefore, periodontal disease affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth.

The infection starts when the gums become inflamed due to bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colorless film that forms on your teeth. While this is often the main cause of periodontal disease, other factors can also be attributed to affecting the health of the gums and bone, including:

  • Smoking or Tobacco Use
  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Medications
  • Diabetes
  • Poor Nutrition

Without proper treatment, periodontal disease steadily weakens the jaw, causing teeth to fall out. But it also has a much bigger impact than merely on your dental health. The bacteria causing periodontal disease increases the risk of developing heart disease and has even been connected with a higher risk of premature birth in pregnant women.

Treatment

In certain cases, periodontal surgery may be recommended to treat periodontal disease when non-surgical treatment is ineffective. An alternative treatment option to conventional surgery is Laser Periodontal Therapy – Laser Assisted New Attachment procedure (LANAP). Our office is one of the first in the area to offer this procedure for the treatment of periodontitis. It is a laser based technique using the Millenium Dental Technologies, Inc. PerioLase Laser. Fear of periodontal treatment often vanishes when patients find out no scalpels or sutures will be used.

Some commonly asked questions about this technology are:

How does it work?

Tartar, associated with inflamed and bleeding gums, is removed from the root surface of the tooth using an ultrasonic scaler and small instruments. Then, a small amount of light energy from a laser is directed through a tiny fiber, which is gently placed between the gum and tooth. This light energy removes a tiny amount of diseased tissue and aids in reducing the bacteria associated with the disease. After the area is thoroughly cleaned, the body can heal itself naturally.

How long does it take?

Initial treatment is focused on the use of small instruments to remove the tartar. Then the laser portion of the treatment is performed and normally only takes a few minutes. Depending on the severity of the patient's periodontal disease, treatment may be accomplished in one office visit or in multiple visits. The estimated treatment time is reviewed with patients when we discuss their treatment plan.

Does this treatment cost more than traditional gum surgery?

Typically laser treatment is no more expensive than traditional gum surgery. There are other factors which may affect the cost, such as the severity of the periodontal disease and how many teeth are involved. Many insurance plans pay only for a portion of this treatment. Patients should discuss their payment options with our dental office personnel.

The dramatically increased comfort for our patients made this new system attractive to our office.

Watch a demonstration of a Laser Periodontal Therapy procedure.

Prevention

Good oral hygiene and regular visits with your dentist can prevent periodontal disease. Daily brushing and flossing can keep plaque to a minimum. This in conjunction with professional cleanings 2-4 times a year will help you keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime.