Our practice is unique in that we are able to combine Waterlase YSGG laser therapy with oral regenerative medicine techniques to offer the most advanced periodontal treatment anywhere in the world.
A Healthy Mouth and Body
Scientific evidence continues to emerge from the medical community linking periodontal disease to a number of systemic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
Maintaining good oral health depends on a variety of factors, including the health of your gums and jawbone, the positioning of your teeth, your “bite” and the condition of your existing fillings, crowns and root canals.
Understanding Gum Disease
What is Periodontics?
The word perio-dontal means “around the teeth”. Periodontics is the specialty of dentistry that involves the anatomy surrounding the teeth, which includes the gums, the jawbone supporting the teeth and the thin ligament that attaches the teeth to the jawbone. The health of these structures is critical to maintaining strong, functional teeth.
Plaque and bacteria can accumulate along the gumline. They irritate the gums and cause them to become inflamed. This inflammation results in bleeding gums, especially after brushing or flossing. This is called gingivitis.
Regular professional dental cleanings and good oral hygiene habits will usually keep gingivitis under control. Since some diseases and medications can also cause the gums to bleed, it is important to obtain a proper diagnosis of the condition causing the bleeding.
Certain bacteria accumulate along and below the gumline, which trigger a series of complex interactions involving the body’s immune system. In susceptible individuals, the result is periodontal disease.
Typical signs of periodontitis include swollen or bleeding gums, gum recession or bad breath. Usually, periodontitis is chronic and discomfort is rare. The doctor diagnoses it by examining x-rays and by evaluating measurements of bone levels in the mouth. When the disease reaches an advanced stage, more serious symptoms may occur, including loose teeth, abscesses, and sometims pain and/ or discomfort.
Mild periodontitis is typically managed with treatment known as scaling and root planing (removal of bacterial deposits below the gumline). Sometimes medications placed into the infected area can be beneficial.
A periodontist, however, is the most qualified and best-trained dental professional to treat severe periodontitis.
Untreated mild or moderate periodontal disease will lead to severe periodontitis. This may result in the deterioration of the jawbone and ligament around the infected teeth, which in turn weakens the teeth.
The goal of treatment is to save infected teeth and to protect the healthy teeth surrounding the diseased areas. When periodontitis becomes so severe that the outcome of treatment is unpredictable and/ or the prognosis for teeth is poor, the infected teeth may need to be removed and replaced with implants or prosthetic teeth.
Treatment of Gum Disease
The procedure known as scaling and root planing involves scraping off bacterial deposits and biofilm from the tooth surfaces. In essence, the teeth are detoxified. In most offices, scaling and root planing is accomplished with a dental instrument that scrapes away the plaque from around the teeth. An ultrasonic instrument can also be used to assist in breaking apart the bacterial accumulations.
The major limitation of this procedure is that in areas where the bacterial accumulations are deep below the gumline, as is characteristic of severe periodontitis, scaling and root planing is minimally effective, thus leaving the potentially harmful infection at the site.
In our office, as an alternative to scaling and root planing, we use the Waterlase YSGG advanced laser system to achieve equivalent or better results by efficiently removing diseased tissue surrounding the teeth and sterilizing the root surfaces. This procedure is painless, anesthetic is usually not required and bleeding is minimal.
Local Antibiotics | Local Laser Therapy
In recent years, a novel approach to treating mild periodontitis has gained popularity. In conjunction with other periodontal therapies, the placement of medications, such as Arestin, directly into the infected site has shown some benefit.
Local antibiotic therapy may be a good option for individuals whose teeth do not respond well to other treatments, or for individuals who for medical reasons cannot tolerate more extensive treatment. However, we are able, in a less invasive and more controlled manner, to achieve more predictable results with local Waterlase YSGG laser or Diode laser treatment.
Surgical Laser Gum Therapy
Treating Advanced Periodontal Disease
The conventional technique for successfully treating teeth suffering from severe periodontitis involves a surgical procedure where a scalpel is used to gently separate the gums from the infected teeth to create access necessary to achieve thorough detoxification. The surgeon may then reshape the surrounding jawbone and gums to reproduce a healthy micro-environment that reduces the possibility of bacterial re-infection.
In our office, we utilize the Waterlase YSGG advanced laser system to achieve a more predictable, and often superior, result. The difference between the two methods is that with our laser, the surgery is bladeless, bleeding is minimal, sutures can sometimes be avoided, recovery is much quicker and the procedure overall is less painfull because it is minimally invasive.
With the aid of special medical products called biomodulators, we are able to genetically engineer new bone and ligament tissue that was previously damaged by the bacterial infection, thereby strengthening the previously diseased tooth and improving the long-term prognosis. This process is known as periodontal regeneration.
Our practice is unique in that we are able to combine YSGG laser therapy with oral regenerative medicine techniques to offer the most advanced periodontal treatment anywhere in the world.
More than an Esthetic Problem
Receding gums may be attributed to several factors, including brushing too hard, previous orthodontic treatment (braces), or periodontal disease.
The recession of the gums exposes the roots of the teeth to the mouth, which may result in sensitivity. The exposure of the roots also increases the chance of developing cavities since the roots are not nearly as resistant as tooth enamel to decay.
When recession is severe, the teeth lose the protective function of the gums, and when left untreated can lead to the progression of periodontitis.
Treatment of Receding Gums
Several methods exist to effectively treat recession, most of which involve soft-tissue grafting procedures. Grafting entails transplanting tissue from a healthy area in a patient’s mouth to the area requiring treatment. The result is new, healthy gum tissue which may remain stable for a long period of time.
Synthetic dermal substitutes, derived from human donors, or made from specially processed layers of collagen, are available as an alternative to harvesting gums from the patient’s mouth. Benefits of this synthetic substitute are a reduction in the length and extent of surgery, as well as, a potentially better recovery. When several teeth require treatment, the synthetic material may be the only option since there is a limited amount of natural gum tissue available.
The Waterlase YSGG advanced laser system represents such a significant breakthrough in the practice of periodontics, esthetic and implant dentistry, that we have devoted an entire website to this cutting edge method of treatment.
Many people ask the question, “Why can’t I just take antibiotics to treat my gum disease?”.
Periodontal bacteria live on the root surfaces of the teeth. Deep below the gumline, these bacteria develop a protective biofilm resistant to systemic antibiotics.
The medicine is simply unable to reach the bacteria.
We perform all advanced periodontal surgical procedures with the help of the Waterlase YSGG advanced laser system.
The laser eliminates the need for scalpels, reduces bleeding, adds greater precision and accuracy, and significantly improves post-op discomfort and recovery.
Long-Term Oral Health
Periodontal disease is treated, not cured. An individual will remain susceptible to periodontitis as long as teeth exist in the mouth. While a successful treatment outcome cannot be guaranteed, the likelihood for success is significantly greater when a patient follows post-treatment recommendations prescribed by the periodontist.
Proper oral hygiene is essential to periodontal health. Equally important is the patient’s commitment to seeking professional hygiene care on a regular basis.
Our office has two full-time hygienists specially trained to provide regular, thorough professional cleanings and examinations to our patients. If during a hygiene appointment, an area of the mouth previously treated for periodontal disease exhibits signs of disease activity, we can use the laser to quickly treat the isolated sites and restore health.
Typically, an individual with a history of periodontitis should visit either a hygienist, dentist, specialist or a combination of the three, every 3 months.