Perio Healthy Lifestyles

Does your dog or cat run away when you try to kiss them?
Laser Periodontal Treatment

Have you ever had anyone tell you that you have bad breath? Does your dog or cat run away when you try to kiss them? Do your gums bleed when you brush them, or even while eating food? Has it been a while since you last visited the dentist to have your teeth cleaned and examined? Do you have diabetes, heart disease, or an autoimmune disease? Do you smoke? Have you been treated for cancer, with radiation or chemotherapy? Are you on medications, like high blood pressure medications that cause you to have a “dry mouth”? These are just some of the many questions that one can have asked of them to imply, you might have an oral bacterial infection!

Periodontal disease, or Gum Disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums. Often, the bacteria can destroy the bone surrounding the teeth as well, making the teeth loose. What most patients don’t realize, is that gum disease is the most common cause of adult tooth loss and not dental decay! In addition, its relationship to Cardiovascular Disease has been traced scientifically over the years, and shows that patients with Periodontal Disease often have signs of Cardiovascular (Heart) Disease as well. Most patients do not realize this connection, and that the treatment of gum disease can result in a healthier heart as well.

Periodontal disease begins when plaque, bacteria, that accumulates on the surface of the roots of the teeth, becomes calcified by the minerals in the saliva, like barnacles on the bottom of a ship, to the root surfaces. The toxins, bad chemicals the bacteria release upon digestion of the nutrients provided, destroys the gums, and more importantly, the bone that surrounds the teeth. Gum disease is usually painless, and has very little symptoms. The most common symptoms are bad breath, and bleeding gums when brushing or even eating. There are many contributing factors to gum disease as well. These include smoking, alcohol, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, medications, and even possible autoimmune responses by ones own body!

The many types of bacteria present actually form a diverse colony called biofilm, which is very hard to destroy. Biofilms are responsible for the recent trend that shows certain antibiotics are now non-effective against certain strains of bacteria and can cause super-infection. BUT, there is some good news! Some of the most recent discoveries actually show that lasers can not only destroy, but can totally eliminate the biofilm in the periodontal pocket utilizing a unique mechanism, only able to be produced by the laser light energy. This results in healing results that border on amazing!

The traditional methods of treating this serious condition is usually performed surgically with shots, scalpels, drills and sutures. This treatment can be painful, and can result in the teeth remaining very sensitive to temperatures as the root surfaces remain uncovered by the gum tissue due to the shrinkage after the surgery. Laser periodontal treatment however, can result in a minimally invasive surgical procedure that doesn’t always require the actual cutting of the gum and bone tissues to repair, and possibly even reverse the disease process. The laser light also has the benefit of bio-stimulation, the process where tissues heal faster, with much less swelling and discomfort post surgically. This results in the ability to also use less medication post treatment, which is safer for the body.

Laser Periodontal therapy can reverse the disease process, and has been proven to actually re-generate the bone that surrounds the tooth over time, avoiding tooth loss. Even some of the most severe cases of bone loss can be reversed using the laser to treat the disease.

First, one must be diagnosed with the disease. This can only be accomplished via physical examination by the dentist and dental hygienist working as a team in the dental practice. Once the diagnosis is established, we can look into the causes that might be presently causing the disease process.

It is imperative that the patient understand that for the treatment to be successful, they play an important roll on the team as well. First, if they smoke, they must commit to quitting. Smoking steals the much needed oxygen the tissues and blood vessels need to regenerate properly. If the patient cannot commit to quitting smoking, the treatment is almost sure to fail. Smoking cessation also leads to improved cardiovascular health in concert with the bacterial reduction the gum treatment provides. There is a cascade effect to the overall health of the body, and we must respect that in order to heal from such diseases as this.

Secondly, we need to evaluate other causes, like medications, possible systemic contributions, such as possible undiagnosed diabetes, stress, as other factors that need to be identified. We can treat the disease, but we will fail if we don’t identify the causes and then try to eliminate as many as possible.

Once treatment has begun, there will be a regimen to follow with office visits, and subsequent home care. In addition, to keep the bacteria levels down, we sometimes include antibiotic therapy for the more severe cases of the disease, and frequent teeth cleaning visits with the dental hygienist for at least the first year post laser treatment.

Our office has been treating periodontal disease for many years. We have worked with numerous patients to save their teeth and have helped to restore their health.

For more information on laser treatment of periodontal disease and the general dentistry we do without the use of needles and drills, please contact us at The Montana Center for Laser Dentistry, 6516 Highway 93 S, Whitefish, MT 59937. 406-862-1010.