The periolase fiber, about the size of three human hairs, is gently placed between the gum and teeth to remove the diseased tissue inside the pocket. This laser fiber selectively removes the diseased tissue and kills the germs that cause gum infections, while leaving healthy tissue unharmed. This also improves access and visibility for better removal of the barnacles of calculus from the surface of the teeth. Tiny, ultrasonic root cleaners vibrate these deposits away and flush them out with anti-bacterial rinse.
Once the surfaces of the teeth are clean, the laser is used a second time, at the bottom of the pocket, to remove any remaining debris and to sterilize the pocket, soft tissue, root and bone. This also causes the blood to become sticky, creating a seal around the teeth. Once the seal has formed, we have created a clean, closed and stable environment for healing to begin. We have tipped the scales in favor of regeneration versus degeneration.
1:2 Adults Have Gum Disease: Laser Alternative to Surgery
Health story for everyone here, 60% of American adults have gum disease. The American Dental Association says that most people would rather risk losing a tooth than get gum surgery. But as health specialists Denise Dador. reports a new FDA cleared laser alternative may get more people into the dentist chair.
Today, Linda Drexier is doing great. Yes, she has gum disease but at least she doesn’t have to go under the knife. She’s taken advantage of a newly improved laser which means no cutting, no stitches, and hardly any down time.
The patient is back to their daily routine, back to work right away. They can come in on their lunch hour and resume their daily activities.
Gum disease is when the gum and bone erode and teeth become loose in their sockets.
I was losing bone and I did not know that either because of this gum disease.
Leanette Little is one of a hundred million Americans who has gum disease. Symptoms include bad breath, red or swollen gums, bleeding while flossing or brushing, and a change in the way your teeth fit together. Left untreated, the bacteria in the mouth can travel through the bloodstream and cause heart attack and stroke. It’s even linked to premature deliveries.
Each year, thirty thousand of us undergo painful gum amputations to treat it, but now many dentists are offering laser periodontal therapy.
This procedure does for dentistry what lasik has done for people with eye problems.
Periolase selectively destroys disease tissue and heals as it treats. Dentists say it also helps promote bone growth. The best part for patients is the ease and convenience.
In the new way, you can walk out the door and it’s like you just came to the dentist office for a checkup. It was just such a breeze.
And with this new laser treatment, it’s less likely that a reinfection will occur.
In Sherman Oaks, Denise Dador, ABC 7 eyewitness news.
Channel 8 Video
This is not the first time Gail Hovenstine is undergoing surgery for gum disease.
Well, it was very painful, there were stitches, there was cutting, there was quite a healing process afterwards.
But that’s now in the past. Her dentist, Dr. Randy Greenberg in Wallingford is using a new procedure. It’s a digital laser. There’s no cutting, no stitching, and there’s minimal pain,
We call it more of a revolutionary change in the way we were thinking. It’s so totally different than anything we’ve done in the past.
This laser technology allows Dr. Greenberg to do things that he could not do before.
When we’re using a regular scalpel, we’re just cutting through tissue. Whatever is in the way of the blade, will get cut and removed. But with this, it can distinguish between diseased tissue and healthy tissue.
The laser beam is going into the gum tissue and vaporizing the inside layer of the gum pocket where the disease process is but not touching the outside. If we look down in, we can see that the laser is just touching the inside layer.
There is no cure for gum disease but because he is not cutting off healthy tissue, Dr. Greenberg says this makes it easier to control.
In about an hour, Gail is ready to get some shopping done.
Any pain right now? No, I’m still numb. But I’m not expecting much either. I’m feeling good.
Dr. Greenberg is the only dentist in our state trained to do the laser surgery. So far, preliminary studies on the laser procedure show there is significant reduction in gum disease equivalent to conventional surgery.
New Gum Disease Procedure: Laser Therapy
Eighty percent of adults have some form of gum disease and most don’t even know it. Many patients however diagnosed with moderate to severe gum disease face an invasive and often painful procedure to treat the problem. But a new option might change all that. We’ll get the details now from Los Angeles. Dr. Robert Greg is a former faculty member of UCLA School of Dentistry’s Hospital Dentistry Division. He’s also the developer of Laser Periodontal Therapy. Thank you so much for getting up this early and joining us on the show today, Dr. Greg.
Thank you, it’s good to be here.
Let’s begin. What is this laser assisted therapy for gum disease; which I understand otherwise is pretty invasive. for patients.
Laser assisted new attachment procedure, also known as LANAP, is a means to treat gum disease using a laser versus a scalpel and suture surgery. The process, what we do, is after a proper periodontal diagnosis with X-rays and periodontal chartings, we use the laser to gently pass between the gums. It’s a very tiny fiber optic, about three human hairs, to vaporize the disease and leave the otherwise healthy tissue structures in place. We use ultrasonic route debridement to clean the route surface and then we use another setting on the laser to clot the blood so that we get a seal so we don’t have to use sutures. About half of the mouth is treated at a given point in time and then one week later the other half is treated. Two two hour visits.
What would be the alternative? For example, it sounds like a lot of people today are already going through as you said, cutting scalpels and stitches, what does that entail? How much more of a benefit, an improvement will this be?
Conventional surgery involves removing tissue in order to reduce the pocket depth. What this procedure is a bone building procedure without removing any of the gum tissue or using any scalpels or stitches; just using the laser and the ultrasonics.
So it sounds like the recovery time is shorter; people can get back to work sooner?
Absolutely. Less pain, less bleeding, less infection, less post-stop recovery time, quicker return to work and actually less expensive based on the fact that you don’t have to spend as much time in the dental chair.
That’s a good point. I’m curious how widespread and how available is this, because certainly if so many of us have gum disease and are potentially facing invasive surgery, another less invasive alternative is very appealing.
Yes, we have about seven hundred dentists across the country that are doing this now, that are doing the LANAP protocol. Alaska, Hawaii, both coasts and all the states in between.
Let’s say somebody is tuning in listening, and are interested, how would they find out? Would they talk to their general dentist, are they referred to periodontist, who is trained in doing it and really how easy is it to access someone who has that experience, that training?
The best contact is the company at milleniumdental.com, and there is a doctor locator on that website. You can also call the phone number I suppose, the 888-49L-ASCR phone number as well.
Let’s back up a minute. I think since so many of us experience some form of gum disease, what are the kind of preventive steps certainly long before we need a laser assisted surgery, what are things people can do to prevent as you describe, those pockets of bacteria of infection that can lead to so many chronic illnesses.
Well, certainly regular dental visits and early intervention would be good ideas. You’ve heard it before, I’m sure, brushing and flossing are good attempts to prevent the onset. But the most common reason for advanced gum disease are the untreated or undiagnosed early stages of the disease. And often times, patients just don’t access the health care system or their dental system in order to get diagnosed, because it is a painless, silent, often symptomless disease that slowly creeps up on the individual.
Can you describe a little bit what are the outcomes as the result of someone not getting treatment in addition to the local disease, what are the other more general, systemic complications that gingivitis or chronic infection can bring on.
There has been a lot of attention paid recently to the association between gum disease and other systemic diseases, such as heart attack, stroke, preterm babies, low birth weight babies, diabetes and basically making these conditions worse. That is the association, that isn’t yet been demonstrated to be causative, but certainly anything you can do to reduce your risk factors for those other systemic conditions would be highly advisable. And it just makes sense, when I see patients that have a lot of puffy tissue, red tissue, inflamed tissue, that indicates that there is a lot of bacteria load in their mouth, a lot of bacteria germs circulating about and they have access to the rest of the body through the bloodstream. It just makes sense that we would want to clean that out.
I’m curious, what can a patient look for themselves; they’re looking in their mouth while brushing their teeth – is it bleeding of the gums – you said they don’t have pain, but what else might they experience?
One of the frustrating things about the disease I guess is that it doesn’t leave a path to it’s origins or the fact that it’s there. There may not be some overt systems. In fact, in the later stages, some of the indications like bleeding aren’t even there. Visits to the dentists are advisable.
Dr. Greg, thank you so much for your time, getting up early today, we really appreciate it.
We hope you find this addition of Healthy Life informative. To find out more on these stories and a host of other health related topics we invite you to go to our website at ABCnews.com. From all of us at the Healthy Life production team, we wish you good health.