When you first discover you have periodontal disease (gum disease), it can be quite a shock, to say the least. You may have had periodontal problems festering for months, or even years, without realizing that anything serious was going on in your mouth. And then suddenly, you find out you need to move quickly to save your gums and remedy your overall oral health.
Thankfully, there are many good treatment options today that periodontists can use to reverse the effects of gum disease. The most outstanding of these, however, is generally considered to be laser periodontal treatment. To learn more about this option and why it might be right for you – read on!
Here’s Why Gum Disease Is So Serious
Before you can get motivated about finding a cure, you first have to understand how serious the disease really is. Gum disease is no laughing matter, nothing to shrug off as a minor irritation – it can be very serious indeed.
Gum disease comes in three main stages:
- Gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease.
- Periodontitis, which can be far more devastating.
- Advanced periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss and the spread of infection and inflammation to other parts of the body.
Gingivitis includes symptoms like red or swollen gums (at points, not necessarily all of your gum tissue) and a little “pink in the sink” while brushing or flossing.
Periodontitis sees the symptoms of gingivitis worsen, and it is here that the underlying bone tissue below teeth starts to get infected and deteriorate. Gums may start peeling away from teeth, while deep periodontal bacteria pockets start to form. Gum recession and some slightly loose teeth are other possible symptoms.
Advanced periodontitis, the worst kind of gum disease, brings with it frequent bleeding of the gums, painful chewing and speaking, severely loose teeth or even tooth loss, white puss extruding from infected areas of the mouth, severe gum recession, and chronic bad breath (called “halitosis” by periodontists and dentists.)
Finally, if gum disease is left untreated, it can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and certain forms of cancer.
Can Gum Disease Be Successfully Treated?
Almost always, periodontal disease can be treated. To what extent, and how fast, its effects can be fully reversed may vary, however, based on its severity and how soon the patient sought treatment.
In many mild cases, simply cleaning your teeth and gums and implementing solid oral hygiene practices may reverse the course of gum disease. This is sometimes the case with pre-gingivitis or early-stage gingivitis.
In other instances, root scaling and planing, gum grafts, bone grafts, or PST grafts to correct gum recession may be in order. Even if you have already suffered tooth loss due to out of control gum-disease bacteria attacking your teeth, modern dental implants could solve the problem.
And as noted above, laser periodontal treatment can do wonders in correcting the damage done by gum disease in any of its stages.
Prevention is the best medicine, they say, and that is true of gum disease too. You are far better off practicing good oral care daily to lower the risk of getting periodontal disease than having to go through treatment. But the fact is, even those who have good oral hygiene practices can be susceptible to gum infection. It’s good to know that, indeed, gum disease CAN be treated.
Why Should I Choose Laser Periodontal Treatment?
While there are several good options whereby you can treat gum disease, laser periodontal treatment is probably the best overall option for most patients.
Why? First of all, the laser kills off more of the harmful bacteria that caused the gum infection to begin with. Handheld dental lasers literally “vaporize” pathogens on your gums and tooth roots. The re-infection rate for patients who chose laser periodontal treatment is lower than for other methods, and this is the main reason why.
Also, the new “smart lasers” are very precise and have several settings. This enables them to avoid destroying good gum tissue while eliminating the bad tissue right beside it. Thus, there is far less loss of healthy gum tissue with laser periodontal treatment.
Next, consider the fact that other options like root scaling and planing or soft tissue grafts or gum flap surgery involve scalpels, while laser gum surgery does not. There is simply less pain involved, less bleeding, and less swelling post-op. Additionally, recovery time is very quick, with most people being back to their daily routine within a day or two.
Finally, note that laser periodontal treatment can be done in a single sitting of only an hour or two in many cases. By contrast, other gum disease treatment methods typically take much longer and require more dental visits.
Whom Should I Trust For Periodontal Treatment?
First of all, when your gums are at stake (and thus your oral health in general), you should look for a specialist – a local, reliable periodontist.
Periodontists work with gum and tooth restoration patients day in and day out. They know exactly what to look for and what to do to treat your gum disease. If you aren’t sure yet if you actually have gum disease, your periodontist can schedule you for an evaluative appointment first.
Next, realize that not all dental professionals have the skills and the equipment to handle laser periodontal treatment. Look for a periodontist who does. You should ask what services are offered and what level of training and experience the candidate has with the specific dental procedure you want done.
Other factors include finding a periodontist who accepts your dental insurance, offers in-house financing assistance, or who accepts multiple forms of payment and/or payment plans. You should check online reviews and check the credentials of each contender. After all, your teeth and gums are far too important to leave to a “novice.”
In the Central Florida area, Dr. Beauchamp is an experienced periodontist who can assist you with laser periodontal treatment or another periodontal treatment as needed. To find out more about laser periodontal treatment or other issues related to gum disease, or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Beauchamp at Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry today for a free consultation!