If you’re sick and tired of having to have gum disease treated with invasive and painful surgery then the treatment outlined below may be exactly what you need. If you’ve developed gum disease and allowed it to become entrenched than there’s every chance that your dentist might recommend using surgery with which to treat it. For many people, however, the thought of facing surgery, particularly if it’s something which is needed on a repeated basis, is so off-putting that they simply opt to live with gum disease. This is a huge mistake, however, since gum disease, particularly if it’s left untreated, is every bit as serious as tooth decay and is actually more likely to result in teeth being lost and treatment such as a dental implant being required.
Clearly then, having gum disease treated is vitally important, and with the more advanced cases dentists have, until now, only been able to offer surgical options. Many patients have tried to avoid surgical treatment, however, because of worries regarding the pain, swelling and bleeding which is involved. On top of this is the fact that even the best surgical treatment is no guarantee of success, with many patients suffering from recurring bouts of gum disease. The good news, however, is that a new form of treatment has been developed, one which utilises lasers to achieve stunning results without recourse to surgical intervention.
The technique, officially known as ‘laser assisted new attachment procedure’ (LANAP) was first developed in the USA in the early 1990’s and, by 2004 it had been cleared for the treatment of gum disease. In layman’s terms, the laser is used in and around the ‘pocket’ which has developed along the gum line, it destroys the ‘bad’ tissue, the infected and inflamed material which has been affected by periodontitis, whilst not damaging the healthy parts of the root. Once this has been achieved, the pocket will be closed up and then the body itself will see to it that healthy connective tissue regrows to replace the diseased tissue which has been removed. Although the patient will have to be placed under anaesthetic during the procedure, it is much less invasive than traditional surgery and has a much simpler rehabilitation process. Following the treatment, the patient will be given strict instructions regarding diet and oral hygiene which must be adhered to if the gums are to remain in a healthy state. Not only that, but the patient will have to return to have their gums examined and evaluated on a regular basis. This means attending a week after the treatment, then a month after and then every thirty days. The gums should heal fully within a period of nine months to a year.
The phrase ‘periodontal diseases’ covers both gum disease and the more serious periodontitis. Gum disease occurs when plaque, the sticky white film present in all mouths, is allowed to build up on the teeth. This usually happens thanks to a somewhat less than rigorous dental hygiene regime since plaque can be safely removed by a patient who cleans their teeth twice a day using the correct technique and the right kind of brush. Fail to do this, however, and plaque can build up to a degree which means that bacteria present begin to irritate the tissue of the gums. The early signs of gum disease are painful and swollen gums, and bleeding when you clean your teeth. At this stage the problem can be solved via a more effective cleaning regime and perhaps an initial consultation with a dental hygienist. The hygienist will thoroughly clean and scale your teeth, removing excess plaque and calculus and showing you exactly how to keep them clean in the future. If left untreated, however, gum disease can become much more serious. It can lead to painful pus-filled abscesses on the gums and damage to the ligaments which attach the teeth to the gums. Plaque which isn’t removed will harden to form a tough substance known as ‘caculus’ or ‘tartar’. This will attract yet more dangerous bacteria and is impossible to remove using simply a toothbrush. In time, the gums will begin to recede away from the teeth, opening up pockets which can fill with more bacteria and infection. Ultimately, the teeth will become loose, the bone in the jaw can be damaged and ultimately teeth will begin to fall out.
The advantages offered by laser treatment are as follows:
- It can be offered to those who suffer from the recurring gum disease since it is more likely to deal with the problem definitively.
- Some feel a phobic level of fear when it comes to having actual gum surgery. This can be a fear of the dentist or specifically of surgical intervention. Either way, laser treatment offers a choice which many such people will feel far more able to cope with. Those who wish to avoid invasive treatment.
- Some patients wish to avoid invasive treatment is such that they may put off having their gums dealt with at all, resulting in the problem worsening. The non-invasive nature of laser treatment will be ideal for such patients.
- Patients on blood thinning treatment will find laser treatment far more accessible than the use of traditional dental equipment.
The problem of gum disease is one which should always be dealt with as quickly as possible. If you feel you may be suffering some of the symptoms then see your dentist and ask about access to laser treatment. The latest technology can solve the problem in a manner which is quick, simple and highly effective. The procedure, which can be carried out without the need for anaesthetic, involves targeting a laser at the ‘pockets’ which have opened up along the gum line, rather than having to cut into these pockets to get at the infection within. The laser kills the bacteria which is attacking the gums and other soft tissues without damaging these tissues. Gum disease should then be kept in check providing the patient follows strict instructions on after care and hygiene given out by their dentist.