Understanding Periodontal Disease
Periodontal or gum disease is an infection of the supporting tissues and bone that hold your teeth in place. The condition affects mainly adults in their 30s and 40s, according the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NICDR), and is usually caused by:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes
- Certain medications
- Genetic susceptibility
How Laser Therapy Works
In periodontal laser therapy, the provider uses a dental laser to access and remove the inflamed gum tissue from around the root of the tooth. When the infected tissue is removed and the root is exposed, the root scaling begins. This involves scraping off the calculus and plaque built up below the gumline and around the root. The dentist then smooths the root with instruments to remove any rough spots that might attract bacteria and cause future infections. The area between the gum and the root can then regenerate during the healing process.
Risks and Benefits
According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), there are ample benefits to using lasers for excising diseased gum tissue:
No general anesthetic is needed, as is sometimes required for other forms of dental surgery.
Lasers can target the diseased areas precisely and accurately.
Bleeding, pain and swelling are limited because periodontal laser therapy is less invasive than regular surgery.
Recovery and healing times are shorter.
Some medical authorities don't yet support the use of this therapy. However, the AAP, suggests there is insufficient evidence that any particular laser's wavelength is better than traditional treatment. This doesn't mean the AAP is against the practice, but you should still play it safe until more professional associations approve this practice – particularly with regard to the restoration of tissue after therapy.
Nevertheless, there are some risks to the use of laser periodontal therapy. The use of an inappropriate wavelength or power level, could cause further damage to the periodontal tissue.