LASER GINGIVOPLASTY AND OSSEOUS SURGERY
The laser is a valuable new instrument that we use as a part of the treatment of periodontal disease. With laser treatment, there are many reported benefits:
- a reduced need for local anesthesia
- bleeding is minimized – this makes it an excellent choice for patients taking blood thinners.
- leaves a sterile wound
- swelling is controlled
- little, if any, postoperative discomfort
- less need for sutures (stitches)
As with any of our procedures, a local anesthetic is used, and intravenous or oral sedation is available if desired.
The laser has many applications that require no sutures after treatment (see corresponding procedures listed in the surgical procedure area of the website). Gingivectomy procedures for a “gummy” smile or removal of excess tissue are excellent situations for the laser. It can also be used for frenectomy, which is a removal of a strong tissue pull at the base of teeth.
For the purpose of pocket reduction and gum infection treatment, laser light energy is used to vaporize the bacteria in the surrounding infected tissue and remove excess tissue around the tooth. As well, the laser will help disinfect the root of the teeth so proper healing can occur. For infections around implants, the CO2 laser currently used in our office is the only laser indicated for use around dental implants. This may help to heal the infected tissue surrounding an infected implant. For all periodontal procedures, post-operative instructions can be found on our website, but usually a systemic antibiotic and antiseptic rinse are prescribed. Discomfort is usually minimal after the laser treatment.
Many media sources refer to laser treatment for gum disease and may suggest this new technology replaces “cutting of the gum tissue with a scalpel, does not require stitches, and is reasonably priced as compared to traditional gum surgery.” However, according to the Academy of Periodontology, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that any specific laser is superior to the traditional treatment methods of the common periodontal diseases. This laser-facilitated treatment is most effective in early to moderate gum disease (4-6 mm pockets). This can help preserve gum tissue, reduces root exposure and sensitivity. Although it doesn’t replace flap and bone surgery as the best treatment for deeper pockets, it is part of an alternative treatment when flap surgery is not chosen for emotional, medical, personal or other reasons. It’s important to note that in this circumstance, laser facilitated treatment is not a cure-all and that some pockets will usually remain. These require special diligence in personal home care and regular professional cleanings to minimize reinfection.