Gum Disease and Laser Dental Hygiene

 

Dental HygienePeriodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is seen frequently in patients in their 30s and 40s. One in every two adults over age 30 in the United States has some degree of periodontal disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With a condition this prevalent, dentists are on the lookout for new techniques that can improve treatment outcomes. More and more practitioners are choosing laser dental hygiene treatments because they offer an additional tool to combat gum disease, which can have severe negative health consequences in its latter stages.

Laser Dental Hygiene 101

1.Dentists use lasers for dental hygiene for several purposes, including:

  • To reduce microorganisms within the mouth or inside a periodontal pocket.
  • To perform sulcular debridement (curettage), the intentional removal of the epithelial lining of the sulcus, as an adjunct to scaling and root planing treatment.
  • To detect the presence of tooth decay with laser fluorescence.

2. Benefits of laser dental hygiene treatments include a reduced need for local anesthetic; the ability to precisely target diseased gum tissues during treatment; a reduced amount of bleeding, swelling or discomfort from treatments; and an accelerated treatment timeline.

3. The American Academy of Periodontology and the American Dental Association state that laser dental hygiene treatments have merits, but advise patients to be aware of treatment limitations and risks.

4. Dental insurance at this time typically reimburses according to what procedure is performed, not the tools with which it is performed. You may wish to check with your provider to see if your procedure may be covered if you’re considering a dental hygiene procedure that involves lasers.

“Lasers are cutting-edge dental hygiene technology – and an approach that offers much potential in effectively treating periodontal conditions,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist with a practice in central Phoenix.

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