General Treatments: Gum Therapy
Periodontal disease is a painless infection that affects the tissues and bone that support the teeth. Amazingly, gum disease is more common than heart disease, stroke, cancer and Alzheimer’s combined. The good news is that unlike those other diseases, gum disease is easily prevented and treated through Gum Therapy.
What causes Periodontal Disease?
Bacteria in plaque produces toxins and enzymes that irritate the gums and cause inflamation. The resulting inflammation causes the tissues and bone that hold the tooth to melt away. Gum disease usually manifests early in life and slowly progresses until the gums and bone are seriously damaged. Untreated gum disease is a major cause of adult tooth loss
Some factors that make periodontal disease more likely are:
- Hormonal Changes
- Poorly fitting dental restorations
- Clenching or grinding teeth
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure
- Certain medications
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease:
The dangers of periodontal disease are more severe than just losing your teeth.
According to the American Medical Association, the toxins produced from the bacteria of gum disease cause plaque build-up in arteries and double the chances of heart disease and stroke. Women with periodontal disease are seven times more likely to have spontaneous premature births and low birth weight babies. There is also research to suggest that periodontal disease is a contributing factor for type II diabetes.
Equally alarming are the results of new research that show the brains of Alzheimer patients can be infected with the same germs known to cause gum disease.
Undiagnosed and untreated gum disease is a major obstacle to optimal
health for a large percentage of the population. Fortunately, modern dental medicine has the solution. Proper treatment of periodontal infection has been shown to lower your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, low birth weight babies, and possibly even Alzheimer’s.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease
Initial exam with a dental hygienist
- Diagnosing the severity of the disease be accurately probing the tissues and recording pocket depths and bleeding areas.
- Removal of the tartar and plaque above the gums to stimulate the body’s immune system to resist bacteria below the gum.
- Tenderness, swelling, red color
- Puss around teeth
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
Subsequent treatments by a hygienist (seven to ten day intervals)
- Reduce the bacteria in the pockets around all teeth from billions to hundreds with the laser.
- Remove the hard plaque (tartar) in one specific area using an ultrasonic and irrigation.
- Use the laser to remove the infected tissue on the inside of the pockets
- Irrigate infected areas to remove the dead tissue and bacteria.
Lasers in Periodontal Therapy
Not long ago we were telling patients that the bone lost due to periodontal disease could never be regrown. With newer technologies and techniques, bone can be maintained and sometimes regrown.
The laser is essential for three reasons:
- It reduces the bacteria in the pockets from billons to hundreds.
- It specifically removes infected tissue while stimulating the non-infected tissue.
- Healing occurs six times quicker due to the increase in circulation promoted by the laser.
With low bacterial counts, infected tissue removed, and an increase in circulation, the progress of periodontal disease is stopped and mant times bone regrows.
What is a Laser and how does it work?
A laser is an instrument that produces a very narrow, intense beam of light energy that may or may not be visible to the human eye. When laser light comes in contact with soft tissue it causes a reaction. The beam of light produced by the laser has the ability to remove, vaporize or shape soft tissues such as the gums, cheeks and tongue.
What are the Advantages of Laser Therapy Compared to Conventional Therapy in Treating Gum Disease?
Laser treatments may be more comfortable than treatment with conventional instruments. The gum tissue may be removed without bleeding and swelling because the powerful light beam seals blood vessels and nerve endings.
Will it hurt?
The aspect of laser surgery that most people appreciate is its comfort. While no treatment is always painless, the laser may reduce the need for postoperative pain medication and may reduce swelling and bleeding.
Is a laser safe? YES.
If a trained practitioner uses the dental laser according to accepted practices, it is at least as safe as other dental instruments.
Is any precaution necessary? YES.
Just as you might wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from prolonged exposure to the sun, you will be asked to wear special eyeglasses to protect your eyes from the laser light beam.
Home Care Aids for your Periodontal Disease
Sonicare is clinically proven to remove more plaque than any other tooth brush. This is because the vibration creates a fluid movement that removes plaque and bacteria from areas that are untouched by the bristles.
The irrigation flushes the pockets removing bacteria and the toxins they produce.
By massaging the gum tissue, the stimulator strengthens the diseased areas by increasing blood flow to them.
Prescription anti-microbial rinse that kills or slows the growth of many of the bacteria that cause periodontal disease.