Laser Assisted Periodontal Therapy (LAPT)
Our ongoing commitment to patient care and comfort means that we are constantly integrating new techniques and upgraded technology into our practice. Lasers have revolutionized many areas of the medical field, and dentistry is no exception.
At Southwest Nebraska Dental Center, we are proud to include laser therapy as a cutting edge treatment option for our patients suffering from advanced periodontal disease.
What Is Gum Disease?
Periodontitis, more commonly known as “gum disease,” is a serious infection that affects more than just the gums. Left untreated, the bacteria that cause periodontitis can destroy not only the gum tissue, but also the underlying bone structure.
As pockets of infection form between the gums and the teeth, the gums recede and bone disintegrates. Teeth start to fall out. This infection commonly spreads into the periodontal ligament surrounding the teeth and then to the bone supporting the teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss. This disease process is chronic and may have periods of more aggressive deterioration. Furthermore, scientific students have established a direct link between gum disease and a host of other health problems, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, respiratory diseases, pancreatic cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s Disease, stillbirth, low birth weight babies, premature delivery, and the list continues to grow. Due to these health risks, we no longer feel comfortable leaving periodontal disease untreated.
Although proper daily oral hygiene is a must, it is often not enough to keep our mouths healthy. There are many contributing factors to our susceptibility to periodontal disease. Changes to your dental anatomy such as bone loss and tissue recession can inhibit your ability to achieve thorough removal of bacterial plaque at home. Genetics, your immune response, systemic diseases and medications can also play a large role in our vulnerability to disease.
Although largely preventable, the CDC estimates that nearly 50% of adults in the United States have some form of periodontitis.
What Is Laser Periodontal Therapy?
Laser Periodontal Therapy (LPT) is a highly effective technique for the treatment of advanced periodontitis. LPT replaces the need for traditional gum surgery, which uses a scalpel to make an incision and requires stitches. A laser is a device that uses a stream of light energy to perform work. Lasers are unique because they can treat targeted tissue while leaving healthy tissue unaffected. In most cases, due to their gentle and precise nature, lasers are used with little or no anesthetic.
We will first use the diode laser safely and comfortably to decontaminate the gum tissue and pockets around the teeth. This procedure will eliminate 95% of the bacteria in the pockets, and stop their infection before they cause further physical destruction and bone loss around your teeth. Additionally, this prevents the pathogenic bacteria from spreading throughout your bloodstream.
Next, a precision laser beam is directed at the diseased gum tissue, destroying it and leaving the healthy tissue intact. Then, an ultrasonic scaler removes tartar and plaque, and precision instruments are used to gently smooth the surface of the roots of the tooth. This makes it more difficult for bacteria to “cling” to the tooth and discourages further infection.
Finally, the laser is again used in selected sites to remove diseased tissue. Our diode laser is designed to specifically target the dark pigmented diseased tissue and increase circulation at the bottom of the pocket. This will rejuvenate the ligament/gum attachment to the tooth creating an environment for the return to a healthy state.
The laser kills any remaining bacteria and promotes healing by stimulating the growth of new cells and connective tissue at the root of the tooth. The laser also quickly and safely cauterizes the tissue.
Like many of the technologies we offer at Southwest Nebraska Dental Center, the laser can be used for both disease treatment and esthetic purposes.
Excess gum tissue can make the teeth appear small and create an uneven smile. Laser gum contouring is a cosmetic procedure that removes this excess tissue, changing the profile of the gumline and enhancing the appearance of the teeth. The immediate result is a beautiful, symmetrical smile.
Because LPT does not require the dentist to make an incision, there is less bleeding, and recovery time is faster than with traditional methods. Patients who opt for LPT experience a minimal level of discomfort both during and after the procedure.
Are you one of millions of Americans with gum disease? Periodontitis will not go away on its own. However, you can rest assured that Laser Periodontal Therapy from Southwest Nebraska Dental Center can make your treatment comfortable, safe, and effective. The sooner you call, the sooner you’ll be on the road to better overall health.
If you have any questions regarding periodontal disease, LAPT, or Gum Contouring please do not hesitate to contact us.