There are different degrees of gum disease. Sometimes it’s mild, manifesting itself as soft tissue swelling, redness, or sensitivity. Other times it’s severe, probably a case that has been neglected too long. Recessed tissues, deep pockets, extreme pain, bad tastes/smells, and an ongoing infection are indicative of periodontitis.

If you have been diagnosed with periodontitis, your level of treatment will depend on the severity of your case. Obviously, mild cases will heal up quickly if you receive prompt treatment and you take care of yourself. A more serious condition of gum disease could take months to properly recover from. Diseased gums that have shrunken and shriveled off teeth need time and a clean, clean environment in order to grow back and fit snugly around them again.

Conventional periodontal therapy/surgery is effective but invasive. In order to remove diseased tissue, parts of the gums and teeth may be simply cut out instead of treated. Ironically, this kind of treatment leads to a longer, harder recovery and can weaken oral health permanently. Risk of mistakes on the dentist’s part increase as well.

In a holistic practice, however, where a laser is used in conjunction with ozone gas, surgery is almost never necessary. Dental laser wavelengths can be calibrated, in a sense, to perform many different functions ranging from gentle cleaning of diseased tissue — without damaging normal tissues in the same area — to cutting and reshaping of tissue. It is completely non-toxic and much less painful than regular slicing and dicing because of its inherent cauterizing properties. Bacteria cannot survive under a laser’s beam, so the process of sterilization is furthermore simplified, especially with additional blasts of ozone gas. Not to mention, recovery is faster and smoother because of minimal intervention and blood flow stimulation.

Perhaps you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease. During an initial inspection of your periodontal health, the degree of the disease will be evaluated and your individual prognosis will be determined. You’ll be instructed on the steps you must take in order to heal. At your appointment, your mouth and teeth will be cleaned and thoroughly prepared so the environment is in the best possible shape for a temporary “construction zone.”

At the site of treatment, the gum pocket(s) will be separated from the tooth with an instrument, and the laser will be used to clean away the infection and dead/decaying parts of the tooth and gums. All exposed surfaces of the tooth and gums are prepared to bond together again so healing may occur. Blood clotting stimulation may be administered to further speed up healing. The process is quite speedy; most cases can be taken care of in a single appointment and may also leave the patient in conditions good enough to return to work the next day.

As always, however, the best cure for a disease or infection is prevention in the first place. My laser adds a fantastic element of superior dental care to this practice, but as the patient, preventing gum disease by yourself in the first place is the best route to take.

Happy flossing!

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

www.dds4smiles.com

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