Your Expert Guide to Laser Dental Surgery
At East Bay Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, laser dental surgery is one of the specialized procedures we offer to patients so they enjoy a superior level of oral health.
We employ the latest techniques and technology to carry out our laser dental surgery procedures and Dr. Evan Santiago and his team in Oakland, CA have specialized training to provide the highest quality of treatments available.
Laser dental surgery provides very positive results in relation to alleviating the symptoms associated with periodontal disease (gum disease). Gum disease is caused by a bacterial infection that leads to chronic inflammation of gums. If left untreated, gum disease can cause bone loss, shrinkage of the gums, loosening of the teeth, and in severe cases tooth loss.
At East Bay Periodontics and Implant Dentistry we use a specific laser with a specific protocol (LANAP® and LAPIP®) in order to treat periodontal disease. This laser/protocol combination is FDA-approved to treat periodontal disease by eliminating the bacteria involved in the gum disease process and to repair bone that has been damaged by the disease.
Laser dentistry refers to the use of light energy in the treatment process. The procedure involves using a thin beam of extremely focused light. When the light is applied to damaged or infected tissue, it can vaporize and eliminate the diseased tissue and bacteria in your gums.
By incorporating lasers into our practice, we can offer state-of-the-art care to patients with periodontal issues and deliver superior results. Laser dental surgery is incredibly versatile, convenient and effective. Lasers are minimally invasive, meaning they are less painful and less harmful to surrounding tissue than other surgical gum disease treatments which involve using sharp instruments to cut diseased tissue and sutures to put the gums back together. We provide laser gum surgery to our patients with all stages of periodontal disease.
Laser technology allows for treatment that can be delivered with precision and focus, removing only diseased tissue and minimizing bleeding at the same time. Laser periodontal surgery delivers results that are equal to or better than traditional surgery. Patients heal and recover faster after laser treatment because it is less invasive.
Our expert team of periodontal specialists are highly skilled in assessing whether your condition can benefit from having laser dental surgery.
Why You May Need Laser Dental Surgery
If you suffer from certain medical conditions (diabetes), are a current or former smoker, or have a genetic predisposition to gum disease, you may be at higher risk of developing a periodontal disease. Additionally poor oral hygiene or infrequent dental cleanings can increase the likelihood of developing gum disease.
Research has revealed there are links between gum disease and heart disease, as well as a number of other conditions including dementia, arthritis, and diabetes. Gum disease can also cause bad breath, swollen/bleeding gums, and discomfort in eating.
When you have gum disease, eating your favorite foods may be difficult because it is uncomfortable to chew properly. Other issues associated with periodontal disease can include tooth infections, tooth mobility, and shifting of the teeth.
The team at East Bay Periodontics and Implant Dentistry has a vast amount of experience, so patients can get through any procedure with the least amount of pain and the quickest recovery time.
Dr. Santiago participates in ongoing training with dental lasers and keeps up to date with new technology and techniques that can improve his patients' experience when they have laser gum surgery.
What Does Having Laser Dental Surgery Involve?
Typically a patient comes into our practice to see Dr. Santiago and his expert team for an in-depth consultation. During the appointment, the doctor will conduct a detailed examination and analysis of the condition of the patient’s gums and assess the level of treatment needed. At East Bay Periodontics and Implant Dentistry we combine your clinical exam with complete dental x-rays in order to determine what stage of disease is present. After a patient is assessed, a decision is made on the best course of treatment. When a patient needs any kind of laser dental surgery, Dr. Santiago will explain what is necessary, step by step. Dr. Santagio has extensive experience in treating periodontal issues with a laser.
When the laser dental surgery is carried out, diseased tissue is specifically targeted with the laser without having to make an incision. This makes the procedure as minimally invasive as possible and is much more comfortable than other surgical periodontal techniques. The laser is designed to disinfect the gums and root using light energy to target and destroy bacteria and related toxins in the infected area. The laser also stimulates new bone and gum growth.
Laser dental surgery is minimally invasive, and seals the gum and infected areas as part of the process, which means the procedure does not need stitches as can often be the case with other surgical periodontal treatments.
Patients often can go back to work the next day, and those that have undergone laser dental surgery say they have experienced very little pain, if any at all, when having treatment. They also have less recovery time, less swelling, and often do not need to take pain medication.
Recommended Post Treatment Care for Laser Dental Surgery
After having laser gum surgery, it is required that you follow a strict diet for the first 3-4 weeks to allow maximum healing and the best outcome. In-depth instructions will be provided to you prior to surgery. The first three days you must stick to a liquid diet. For the next 4-7 days you are allowed to eat “mushy” foods which are essentially foods that require little to no chewing (scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, yogurt, soft cheeses, etc.).
We advise avoiding hard, crunchy, or chewy foods (chips, nuts, popcorn, hard bread, apples, gum, candy, raw vegetables, salads, and fatty meats) for 3-4 weeks following surgery because food particles can lodge between teeth and compromise healing.
Patients come in for follow-up appointments at one and four weeks post surgery to check the healing process. After this the patient should have a cleaning in our office every three to four months. A re-evaluation is usually completed at six months post surgery where we perform a new exam and take x-rays to measure the effectiveness of the treatment.
Dr. Santiago takes time to answer questions and follows up to see how they are progressing in their recovery. He makes sure he is available to answer any questions or concerns.
Laser Dental Surgery and Real Life Experiences
At East Bay Periodontics and Implant Dentistry we spend a large amount of time working on the best possible treatment plans for our patients.
This is why Deborah F. came to our practice to have her laser dental surgery treatment. She admits she was skeptical at first, but Dr. Santiago and the team soon put her at ease: “They did a lot of prep work and gave me all the information I needed. Dr. Santiago shows you your teeth, so you can see exactly what’s going to happen, whatever your issue is.”
She adds, “I only had laser surgery done on the bottom (of my mouth) because I wasn't sure how it would work. He totally cleaned out the area. The treatment has worked very well.”
Deborah was also very pleased with the level of attention to detail Dr. Santiago had when it came to advising her on what the process involved. “Dr. Santiago gave very detailed instructions on what he was going to do and aftercare, and I followed his instructions to a tee. He said I could call him any time and ask questions if I had any concerns. I'm very happy with the result. I don't have any more pain.”
What Are the Positive Outcomes of Having Laser Dental Surgery?
When you have laser dental surgery, your recovery time is much faster, as you do not have to cope with swelling or pain that is associated with traditional surgical periodontal treatment.
Patients also frequently experience healthier feeling gums and more stable teeth.
When your periodontal disease is under control, your immune system will also be in a better position to combat infections. If you have diabetes you may also find that your blood sugar is better under control. Healthier gums will also reduce your risk for heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Common Questions Associated with Laser Dental Surgery
1. How long does a session of periodontal laser dental surgery last?
Duration of laser dental surgery depends on the severity and extent of the disease. Typically, patients have two sessions of two hours each to treat the full mouth for periodontal disease. If we are treating only select areas of the mouth, your treatment may be much faster or in only one session.
2. Can periodontal conditions and gum disease be cured with a laser?
Laser periodontal surgery can help stop the disease process and repair damaged tissues around teeth. However, you cannot cure periodontal disease with any treatment. If you have had disease in the past you are at risk for recurrence. We recommend that most patients have their teeth cleaned every three to four months and gum exams every two years to maintain gum health.
3. What will my gums look like after laser dental surgery?
The color of your gums may change in appearance following laser treatment. Your gum tissue can turn white, gray, yellow, red, blue, purple, and may also look stringy. The change reflects a completely normal response, which goes back to its normal pink color as your gums go through the healing process. You may also experience some soreness or tooth sensitivity. Dr. Santiago and his team are on hand to talk you through any concerns if you are worried about how your gums look after your treatment.
4. Is laser dental surgery better than traditional gum disease treatment?
When a laser is used to treat periodontal conditions, it can kill bacteria without cutting into any gum or bone tissue. Traditionally, a scalpel is used to remove the diseased tissue, which can be more painful and result in receding gums. The laser can also encourage gums to reattach more tightly to the teeth, which promotes faster healing.
If you have read this article and feel you have any of the conditions mentioned, having laser dental surgery may be of great benefit to you. You can book an appointment to see Dr. Santiago and one of his top reviewed laser dental surgery specialists.