Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for American adults. Reports indicate that millions of people are unaware that they have gum disease, and about 30% of the population is genetically susceptible to contracting the condition. Other risk factors include smoking, pregnancy, puberty, stress, grinding teeth, poor nutrition, diabetes, and poor oral hygiene. When gum disease sets in, it destroys soft tissue, breaks the strong bond between teeth and supporting gums, and can cause jawbone deterioration, as well as tooth loss.
If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, or if they appear red, swollen, or are tender to the touch, you may have gum disease. Depending upon the severity of your case, our hygienists may recommend deep cleaning to reverse the condition. Our office uses a gentle soft tissue laser to treat the pockets infected by bacteria and periodontal disease. The procedure is called “sulcular debridement,” and it involves removing diseased epithelial lining and coagulation by utilizing a pulsed, free-running Nd:YAG laser. We perform this therapy in conjunction with subgingival scaling to improve the gingival index, gingival bleeding index, probe depth, attachment loss, and tooth mobility.
This all sounds very technical, so here's what you need to know in layman's terms.
During your appointment, mild anesthesia will ensure that you stay comfortable. We will use an ultrasonic scaler to remove hardened plaque, called tartar or calculus, from your teeth. Next, we will smooth rough tooth roots where plaque and bacteria tend to accumulate. We'll also irrigate the pockets between the teeth and gums to wash away debris and sterilize the area. The soft tissue laser will disinfect the pocket and seal blood vessels, nerve endings, and lymphatics so that there is no infection, bleeding, or swelling following laser treatment (sulcular debridement).
Soft tissue laser therapy for deep cleanings presents many advantages. The laser beam seals as it cuts away damaged tissue, so bleeding is minimal. Because of the reduced trauma, most patients feel better than they would after traditional deep cleanings.