Your gums are integral to your oral health. They keep your teeth in place and ensure a strong, healthy smile. But if you have plaque build-up around your gums, the gums become inflamed and infected. This inflammation is called gingivitis. If it is left untreated, the plaque solidifies into tartar. Gingivitis quickly becomes periodontitis – gum disease.
Small pockets form between the gums and teeth when you have gum disease. Bacteria gather in these pockets and lead to a painful infection. Infections pull the gum away from the teeth and deepen these pockets, which results in tooth weakness and even tooth loss! Without healthy, strong gums to hold your teeth in place, they can move or even fall out.
Gum disease is a painful condition. It can make eating, speaking and brushing your teeth difficult. Traditionally, treating gum disease requires scaling and root planing, known as deep dental cleaning. In severe cases, people often undergo flap surgery, bone and soft tissue grafts, and guided regeneration. But new technology is making gum disease treatment easy and painless: laser therapy.
5 FAQs: Is Laser Therapy the Best Treatment for You?
What is laser therapy used for?
Laser therapy is an innovative, minimally invasive procedure for treating gum disease. LANAP – laser-assisted new attachment procedure – uses a laser to precisely target dead gum tissue and pockets where bacteria and infections form. A periodontist guides the laser to problem areas, which painlessly removes dead, unhealthy gum tissue. Once removed, healthy gum tissue grows to replace it.
Is laser therapy painful?
Laser therapy is one of the least painful dental procedures there is! Typically, people don’t feel anything at all during the procedure. Periodontists don’t use scalpels or other sharps tools for laser gum removal. Because the laser is targeted directly at the affected gum tissue, there isn’t pain to the nearby healthy tissue. If necessary, a periodontist applies a local anesthetic to numb your affected gum.
How long does it take to heal after laser therapy?
After laser therapy, your gums will be sensitive and swollen for about two weeks. However, the sensitivity and swelling from laser therapy are minimal compared to traditional gum disease procedures and surgeries. Your periodontist can advise you on what to eat and how to care for your mouth while healing.
Will my gums come back?
Yes! After laser therapy removes the dead gum tissue, healthy tissue grows to replace it. One of the best parts of LANAP is that the laser also kills harmful bacteria that might affect nearby or new gums. With that bacteria zapped away, your new gums will be safe.
Is laser therapy right for me?
Laser therapy is ideal for anyone with gum disease. Laser therapy can quickly and painlessly treat your condition, whether you have mild, moderate or severe gum disease. However, some people are at increased risk for gum disease, including people who smoke or use other tobacco products, people with diabetes and people who have inflammatory health conditions like arthritis. A dentist or periodontist can diagnose your condition via an oral exam. If you have any of the following symptoms, it’s time to talk to your periodontist about laser therapy:
- Swollen gums
- Tender, painful or sensitive gums
- Bleeding gums
- Purple or red gums
- Loose teeth
- Gum recession that reveals more of your teeth
- Sudden changes in teeth spacing, such as new gaps
- Tooth pain and sensitivity
- Pain in your gums and teeth when chewing, flossing or brushing
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away with proper hygiene and diet changes