Laser Treatment for Gum Disease

Lasers have added a new dimension to treating gum disease non-surgically. They do not replace more traditional treatment, but they enhance the effectiveness of treatment by aiding in the removal of the cause of gum disease.

Gum disease is a communicable infection. Most people are surprised to hear that it is like a sty in your eye or ringworm; it is a bacterial infection you can share with those close to you. Of course some people are more resistant to gum disease, but the bacteria that cause the disease is passed from person to person through intimate contact. It helps to address this problem with those close to you for best results.

Another interesting and also very useful fact is that all the bacteria that cause gum disease are obligate anaerobes, which means they do not like oxygen, or exposure to air. Why is this fact so useful?

There are about four hundred different kinds of bacteria found in the human mouth. Of that four hundred about two hundred are found in your mouth at any given time. Of all those bacteria, there are only about four or five types that cause gum disease. They are primary pathogens. They are found in the recesses farthest from exposure to oxygen. In the deeper pockets of the sleeves of the gum around your teeth, under layers of plaque that accumulate in hard to brush areas of your mouth, and inside the hard, crusty deposit that forms on teeth over time.

Observations with a scanning electron microscope reveal a complex web of life associated with the deposits around each tooth. It resembles a coral reef. There are bacteria that aggregate and form kelp like structures, and others that form clusters that colonize in carpets and lumps and still others that are free swimming in and out of the pores in the crusty structure (calculus). It is a complex ecosystem living in your mouth!

The key to controlling gum disease is to shift the balance of the ecosystem. Why? Because the pathogens responsible for creating the toxins that cause your gums to leak nutrients (blood) to feed this parasitic party (remember you are the host), are found in the deepest recesses, away from the oxygen. So you can shift the ecosystem by disrupting the organization of the reef structure and allowing oxygen into the deepest layers. The pathogens can’t survive and the bleeding stops. The balance of the ecosystem is disrupted and the gum disease is controlled. There are two parts to this process.

First, you need our help. Non-surgical treatment starts in our office. This is the elegant part of the process. We remove the imbedded irritants that are under your gum, and your gums get better. And they get better no matter what you do, because we have removed the cause of the disease, but only for a time. Studies show that for about one month your gums will heal, even if you do not brush your teeth the whole time. But you can maximize the healing with brushing and flossing. Laser is a great help in the treatment we provide, because it takes away a very thin layer of infected gum tissue around the tooth, and softens up the harder deposits that must be removed from the tooth surface in this first phase. Laser therapy also biostimulates the gum tissue in the surrounding area to promote healing.

Then we need your help. You are not going to get rid of all the bacteria in your mouth so you have to learn to work with them. The layers of plaque and deposits have to be disrupted daily, by introducing oxygen into the deepest areas. You can accomplish this with methodical home care, brushing and flossing and using any special aids we give you to get into difficult areas. Disrupting the layering of plaque and other deposits prevents the obligate anaerobes from reestablishing themselves in the balance of your new ecosystem. This ecosystem of oxygen tolerant bacteria is taking the place of the old pathogenic coral reef. As long as you keep introducing oxygen daily with great home care, the bacteria in your mouth will adapt to the more oxygen rich environment and be harmonious with the health of your gums. They form a new and stable community that will resist change and help you resist the recurrence of the old problem.