Laser Treatment for Healthy Gums
By Mina Levi, DDS, 10/02/2014
What is laser dentistry?
The laser is a minimally invasive tool that has been used in dentistry for over twenty-five years for various procedures. The safety and control that lasers provide allows Dentist San Francisco Dr. Mina Levi and the dental hygienist to perform precise procedures without worrying about damaging the tissues in your mouth.
How can the laser keep my gums healthy?
When gum tissue becomes compromised with inflammation, bacteria are allowed into the periodontal pockets surrounding the teeth. These bacteria under the gum line cause and aggravate periodontal disease. The dental laser is able to destroy the bacteria in the gum pockets using one of two procedures, depending on the level of bacteria and disease found in the mouth. The two procedures performed by Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi DDS or the hygienist are Laser Bacterial Reduction (LBR) and Laser Periodontal Therapy.
Laser Bacterial Reduction
This procedure is performed at the time of a regular prophylaxis appointment and is appropriate for patients who have sufficient home care ability but have gums that bleed or are slightly inflamed. The laser circles the teeth in a non-cutting mode and delves into the gum pockets, reducing the bacterial load below the gums and “sterilizes” the area. This procedure efficiently kills the bacteria within the gums so that patients may maintain healthy gums with adequate homecare. For example, an inflamed pocket has billions of bacteria, and the laser reduces the bacteria to a few hundred. The bacteria levels can grow back toward their original levels over several weeks, but during this time, with proper homecare, a patient can allow the gums to heal enough to enable the surrounding tissue to reattach and the pockets to shrink. This ensures that less bacteria are able to reside in the gum pocket.
Laser Periodontal Therapy
This procedure is performed at a scaling and root planing appointment and is more appropriate for patients who are in a more advanced stage of periodontal disease and are in need of a scaling and root planing or deep cleaning in order to remove the bacteria and hardened calculus. The scaling and root planing alone removes hard debris from under the gum line that is preventing the gums from healing fully. The laser, in addition to the scaling and root planing, kills remaining bacteria and sterilizes the pocket to ensure the optimal environment for healing of the gum pocket. The use of the laser will allow the re-attachment of the gum tissue to the tooth and cause the periodontal pocket to shrink to normal depths. In addition to removing the bacteria and infected tissue, the dental laser is used to seal blood vessels and nerve endings, thus stopping bleeding and postoperative pain and swelling after scaling and root planing and periodontal gum therapy.
If you have questions or concerns regarding laser dentistry or periodontal disease, visit Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.