Gum disease, or “periodontal disease,” can have a devastating effect on your oral and overall health, and it is much more common than most people realize. Most US adults will come down with some stage of gum disease at some point in their life, be it a mild form of gingivitis or a full-blown case of periodontitis.
And what is the engine that causes gum disease? – harmful mouth bacteria that colonize the gums and tooth surfaces. Over time, these pathogens eat their way into your gum tissue and destroy it. They may also cause the gums to recede, exposing your tooth roots to bacterial decay – ultimately leading to tooth loss.
With so much at stake in keeping your gums healthy, or getting them health again as the case may be, you need the most effective treatment method possible for eliminating gum-disease-causing bacteria. That method is called laser periodontal treatment.
How Does Gum Disease Develop and What Can It Do?
Gum disease comes in various stages, moving steadily, step by step, until it potentially could destroy your oral health as well as increase the risk of such things as heart disease, stroke, out of control diabetes, Alzheimer’s, birth defects, certain forms of cancer, and more.
At first, it is “stealthy.” You likely won’t even realize you have a problem. Food particles and food-film (especially from high-sugar foods and drinks) may be stuck between your teeth or may be coating your gums.
Bacteria soon form a film of their own on top of the food film and feed on it. Soon, they start feeding on the gums themselves and giving off an unpleasant odor in the process – which is why gum disease can cause chronic bad breath.
At this point, you may develop an early stage of gingivitis, the mildest type of gum disease. With gingivitis, gum tissue becomes inflamed or reddened and may feel tender to the touch. You may also notice your gums bleed easily when brushing your teeth.
It is important to seek periodontal treatment as early as possible. Any delay risks aggravating the damage. For example, as gingivitis develops into periodontitis, gum tissue is destroyed, bacterial pockets in your interdental spaces deepen, pus may exude from infected gum tissue, bone underlying your gums may deteriorate, and teeth may loosen and eventually fall out.
With severe periodontitis, gums will bleed even when you are not brushing your teeth. Just eating and talking will become painful. Gum lines recede, and exposed tooth roots often develop cavities leading to an extraction or a root canal surgery.
The Bacteria Must Be Destroyed or Your Gums Will Be!
There are dozens of different types of bacteria that live in your mouth, and most of them are harmless or even beneficial. But a few of them are “trouble-makers” and will cause periodontal disease if given a chance.
Streptococcus bacterium are most commonly the culprits with cavities (caries) and tooth decay, while gum disease is usually caused by either porphyromonas gingivalis or treponema denticola. Neither of these bacteria types need oxygen to survive, which means they can survive almost anywhere provided they have food. And they both cause inflammation, infection, and deterioration of gums, tooth enamel, and alveolar bone mass.
There really is no limit to what these bacteria can do if left to fester indefinitely in your mouth. You are risking tooth loss, painful and devastating gum infection, and the spread of inflammations and infections to other parts of your body.
Why Laser Periodontal Treatment Is the Answer to Gum Disease
There are a number of different treatment options for gum disease, but laser periodontal treatment is generally the best when it comes to eliminating harmful mouth bacteria.
Root scaling and planing is the older method, and it is still used today in some instances. It involves peeling back the gums and manually scraping the tooth roots down with a handheld dental scalpel. It can be effective, but it is more painful than laser periodontal treatment and has a higher re-infection rate. The reason is that modern dental lasers do a better job at eradicating bacteria.
Modern LANAP lasers have several settings and can be used to painlessly burn away infected gum tissue while leaving healthy adjacent tissue untouched. It can also effectively clean tooth-root surfaces, clear out bacteria-infested “interdental pockets,” and immediately cauterize the gums it touches to prevent bleeding. Laser periodontal treatment also results in less post-op swelling and pain and a much faster recovery time (most are back to work within one or two days).
Success rates for laser periodontal treatment are at 98% to 99%, and there is much less chance of a re-infection. You do need to follow a few post-op instructions from your periodontist, use an antiseptic mouthwash, and maintain good oral hygiene following the procedure. But that is true with any type or periodontal treatment. All in all, bacteria and their harmful effects are more completely and permanently dealt with via laser periodontal treatment than with any other dental procedure.
To learn more about laser periodontal treatment and other options for treating gum disease, contact Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry in Central Florida today for a free consultation!