Have you noticed your gums bleed when you brush or floss? This could be the first sign of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Here, our Winnipeg dentists explain periodontal disease and how laser treatment can be used to help.
If your gums are bleeding a little bit when you brush and floss, you might not think anything of it. However, it is important to seek dental care because bleeding and swollen gums are both signs of early periodontal disease. Early periodontal disease (gingivitis) can develop into a more serious case and cause more severe symptoms, and eventual tooth loss, if left untreated.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection that impacts the tissues around your teeth, including your gums, ligaments, and bone. Many people first experience periodontal disease in its most mild form, gingivitis, which affects the gums. However, the disease can progress to involve all tissues inside your mouth.
Typically, adults in their 30s or 40s experience periodontal disease. Bacterial plaque buildup is the main cause of the condition, but other factors such as genetics, illness, certain medications, or poor diet can also increase your risk for gum disease or make it worse once you have an infection.
How Does Laser Therapy Work?
Periodontal laser therapy is one form of treatment for periodontal disease. Lasers are extremely focused light beams with various wavelengths and strengths that can change or remove tissues in small amounts. During laser gum treatment, a dentist will use a laser to access your infected periodontal pockets and kill all infected tissue and bacteria. After removing the infected tissue and gaining access to your exposed tooth root, the dentist will use an ultrasonic root cleaner to remove calculus. Then, they will use laser energy to warm your stem cells in the pocket and seal your tissues against your tooth root.
Dentists use lasers for more than just periodontal laser therapy as well. Laser tools allow your dentist to correct tongue ties, treat canker and cold sores, treat root canal infections, regenerate damaged nerves and remove benign oral tumours. If you’re not a candidate for periodontal surgery, or you simply don’t want an invasive procedure, lasers may be an alternative for you.
Benefits of Laser Therapy
There are many potential benefits of laser gum treatment, including:
- Faster healing time than traditional surgery
- Less invasive and no need for drills
- Minimal bleeding and swelling
- Adjustable wavelengths and power levels for each patient
Are There Cons to Laser Therapy?
Despite the benefits listed above, it’s important to also look at some of the drawbacks. If you’re considering gum disease laser treatment, you should keep in mind your dentist cannot use lasers on teeth that have fillings. This form of treatment can also have a higher price than scaling and root planing. Make sure you talk to your dentist about all your options so you can make an informed decision about your treatment.