Lasers in Dentistry
A laser is a device that uses light energy to perform work. Lasers are unique because they can treat targeted (diseased) tissue while leaving surrounding (healthy) tissue unaffected. It is this property, among others, that allow your dentist to perform very precise procedures. In addition, lasers may seal off blood vessels and nerve endings during a procedure lessening bleeding, postoperative pain and swelling. In many cases, due to their gentle and precise nature, lasers can be used with little or no anesthetic.
The link between inflammation of the gums and debilitating or even life-threatening systemic disease is real.
Our multi-disciplinary approach is sometimes coordinated with primary care doctors with whom we are pleased to work. Together, we understand the physiology of the mouth, share patients with identifiable risk factors, and have the means to address their needs.
In most cases, the therapy provided in our office by the dentist is sufficiently comprehensive to deal with oral inflammation and infection. The sooner treatment is initiated, however, the better we are able to avoid the systemic consequences of inaction.
This is why we are so passionate about periodontal therapy. More than just simply cleaning, it is in every way the practice of preventive oral and therapeutic medicine.
Changing the future
We use lasers to attack periodontal inflammation at the microscopic level of infection. The power of its focused light destroys otherwise inaccessible bacterial colonies while simultaneously creating an ideal environment for healing. Today, our practice offers our patients the hope of a better tomorrow by providing oral health care in ways that were science fiction only a few years ago.
We are not only cleaning teeth and creating beautiful smiles. With our enlightened therapy, we are doing more than simply enhancing one's lifestyle.
- Each time we treat a patient in this fashion, we are changing their future.
- We are taking actions that are calculated toward prolonging lives and saving life itself.
Inflammation: the silent killer
In 2004, Time Magazine ran a cover story entitled “The Secret Killer.” It addressed the “surprising link between inflammation and heart attacks, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other disease, and what we can do to fight it.”
The article reported that simply “flossing your teeth combats gum disease, a source of chronic inflammation.”
We were pleased that the media had finally awakened to a problem that we have already identified and begun to aggressively treat. We use not just floss and other personal oral hygiene products but also laser to kill the bacteria associated with gum disease, inflammation and infection.
Describing “The Fires Within,” Time reported that “hardly a week goes by without the publication of yet another study uncovering a new way that chronic inflammation does harm to the body.
It destabilizes cholesterol deposits in the coronary arteries, leading to heart attacks and strokes; it chews up the nerve cells in the brains of Alzheimer’s victims. It may even facilitate the transformation of abnormal cells into cancer.
Chronic inflammation may be the engine that drives many of the most feared illnesses of middle and old age.”
Be assured, we will not allow you to suffer the effects of inadequately treated chronic gum inflammation. We are one of relatively few offices with the means to offer comprehensive therapy.
The Mouth/Body Connection
The founders of the Mayo Clinic declared: “A healthy mouth can add ten years to your life!”
They were referring to a growing body of evidence that has linked serious gum disease, also known as periodontitis, to a number of “systemic” diseases that afflict your body. We do not yet understand the exact nature of the connection, but studies emphasize that the benefits of having a healthy mouth go far beyond personal appearance and no cavities.
The possibility that pathology within the mouth can influence systemic disease has been suggested by the U.S. Surgeon General and in numerous investigations exploring the relationship between periodontal disease and coronary heart disease, stroke, pregnancy complications, diabetes and bacterial pneumonia.
What is clear is that treating periodontal disease by eliminating infection and its accompanying inflammation will help:
- Reduce or eliminate bacteremias
- Reduce or eliminate cross contamination
- Kill potential periodontal infections before they cause loss of gum attachment
- Boost the immune system
- Reduce the severity of other disease processes
- And improve overall health.
A portal of entry for microbial infections
When compromised by inflammation, the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth is a vast portal of entry for microbes. Even inhaling bacteria and viruses that inhabit periodontal pockets has the potential to trigger respiratory infection.
Gum disease and tooth loss are related to deterioration of bone mass. Periodontitis disrupts disease management by diabetics and doubles their likelihood of heart problems and kidney failure. Pregnant women with periodontal infection are at risk of pre-term delivery and low birth weight babies.
How does that change oral health care?
Oral health care has changed forever. Our recognition of the oral-systemic disease connection has fundamentally changed our practice of dentistry. Simple “management” of disease is unacceptable. Our greater responsibility is to cure periodontal inflammation and infection.
The Journal of The American Dental Association* concludes that the traditional treatment model has not worked. Witness the prevalence of oral infection today, in spite of conventional approaches to care. Our new design addresses a comprehensive understanding of disease processes that allows us to more definitely focus on your needs with a new arsenal of weapons to fight chronic inflammation.
Using a laser, we can:
- Prevent cross contamination of infections in one area of your mouth to other areas. Decontamination minimizes the chance that we may inadvertently pick up bacterial infection in one area of your mouth and move it to others.
- Kill periodontal disease bacteria and stop their infections before they cause physical destruction or loss of attachment around your teeth.
The laser decontamination process is painless and normally takes about 5-10 minutes.
We highly recommend that you take advantage of this service as part of your routine cleaning.
(*) ["The Oral-Systemic Disease Connection." Journal of the American Dental Association, October, 2006.]