If you’ve got periodontal disease and are dreading the gum grafts or suturing, there is now a less painful way of dealing with the problem. The dentist can use a laser to remove any bacteria and diseased tissue and this may mean less bleeding, swelling and pain for the patient.
The laser is also used to close up "pockets" by sealing the gums to the teeth. The procedure is done with a local anaesthetic.
Laser therapy is safe when used correctly and was approved by the FDA in 2004, so if you are considering having this done, choose a dentist who has experience in this technique.
Laser Therapy May Help Re-grow Gum Tissue
Research carried out at Louisiana State University found that the laser treated gums showed evidence of growing new connective tissue in six patients who had undergone the procedure. All six patients had one tooth treated via laser and one tooth treated by scalpel and suturing.
Three months later the patients were followed up on, and it was found that the laser treated gums had begun to grow, whereas the sutured gums showed no change.
The author’s concluded:
"These cases support the concept that LANAP (laser assisted new attachment procedure) can be associated with cementum-mediated new connective tissue attachment and apparent periodontal regeneration of diseased root surfaces in humans."
However, the study was funded by the manufacturer of the lasers to be used in this type of therapy and the study group was very small so future, larger studies by independent financiers are needed before any concrete conclusions are reached.
Can I get Insurance for Laser Therapy?
If your insurance company covers surgery for periodontal disease, they will cover laser treatment as they cover the procedure rather than the device used to perform the procedure. There are also medical and dental loans available.
Laser Periodontal Therapy, Eric Johnson DDS. Web. 30 November 2011. http://www.ericjohnsondds.com/services-laser-therapy.php
Histologic Evaluation of an Nd:YAG Laser–Assisted New Attachment Procedure in Humans, International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry, November/December, Volume 27, Issue 6. Abstract: http://www.quintpub.com/journals/abstract.php3?iss2_id=254&article_id=3092
Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting.
Reviewed November 30, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith