What is a Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dental professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, also referred to as gum disease. A periodontist focuses on the areas of the mouth surrounding the teeth, including the gums, bones, and connective tissues.
What is Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)?
Periodontal disease is caused by the buildup of plaque, the sticky, bacteria-filled film that forms on teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause deterioration of the gum tissue and bone, which can lead to receding gums and tooth loss.
Systematic Affects of Periodontal Disease
- Atherosclerosis and heart disease: Gum disease may increase the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease. It also is believed to worsen existing heart disease.
- Stroke: Gum disease may increase the risk of the type of stroke that is caused by blocked arteries.
- Premature births: A woman who has gum disease during pregnancy may be more likely to deliver her baby too early. The infant may be more likely to be of low birth weight.
- Diabetes: Diabetic patients with periodontal disease may have more trouble controlling their blood sugar than diabetic patients with healthy gums.
- Respiratory disease: Bacteria involved in gum disease may cause lung infections or worsen existing lung conditions. This is particularly important for elderly adults in institutions such as nursing homes. In this group, bacteria from the mouth may reach the lungs and may cause severe pneumonia.
When diagnosing Gum Disease, the signs of gum disease we look for include:
- Red, inflamed gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Receding gums
- Loose or separating teeth
- Presence of pus between the gum and tooth
- Prolonged bad breath
Because the symptoms are initially mild, many people don’t realize they may have gum disease. You may have an increased risk for gum disease if you smoke, have diabetes, take certain medications, endure excessive stress, or don’t eat properly.
How Do Lasers Treat Periodontal Disease?
Lasers are a non-surgical approach to arresting the progression of periodontal disease. Following scaling and root planning, a laser is used to significantly reduce the bacterial colonies and decontaminate the infected periodontal pocket. Lasers also remove the infected tissue lining the periodontal pocket. As the infected tissue is removed, microscopic blood clots form and your body’s natural healing response takes over. As you heal, the tissue reattaches to the bone and your gums return to a healthy infection-free state.
Will Laser Therapy Be Painful?
One of the biggest advantages of laser therapy is that most procedures can be performed with little or no anesthesia. Your Dentist or Hygienist calibrates the lasers to provide just the right amount of power to treat your gums without causing undue pain or trauma to your tissue. Some localized anesthesia may be necessary depending upon the level of infection present.
Will The Laser Therapy Cure My Gum Disease?
Once you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease you can never cure the disease; but you can mange the disease by arresting the progression of the infection through scaling, root planing and laser therapy. Just as Diabetes is not curable but easily managed with proper care and maintenance, the same is true for periodontal disease. Your Dentist may recommend that you see a Periodontist (gum disease specialist) for a follow up evaluation if the level of periodontal disease is advanced.
How Do I Know If I Can Benefit From Laser Therapy?
While lasers have many uses in dentistry, they are not used for all procedures. Your Dentist will determine if laser therapy is right for you.