periodontal laser therapy for gum disease

Periodontal laser treatment for gum disease: cost, surgery procedure and benefits

New periodontics technics includes periodontal laser therapy to treat different gingival diseases without the need for gum surgery, local anesthesia and favoring tissue and bone regeneration as well as faster healing time.

How gum disease forms ?

Periodontal  or gum disease is a bacterial infection that affects the teeth supporting structures such as: gingiva, periodontal ligaments and alveolar bone.

The gingival pathology is caused by the dental plaque due to poor oral hygiene. if not removed, bacteria that are living in the plaque starts to inflame the gingival tissue and to damage the dental enamel.

At its early stage, the disease is called gingivitis and it affects the gingival tissue. If left untreated, gingivitis progress to periodontitis. at this more severe stage, infection attacks periodontal ligaments and the alveolar bone.

The result is that the tooth progressively remains without the necessary support, becomes loss and fall.

There are additional causes that may lead to periodontal disease such as:

  • Systemic condition (diabetes, osteoporosis, leukemia, HIV/AIDS);
  • Certain drugs;
  • Genetic susceptibility;
  • Vitamins deficiency.

Periodontists have different treatment options and all of them have the same purpose: destroy bacteria, removing the infected tissue, reducing and closing the gum pockets to avoid infection coming back..

Conventional periodontal treatment

Before any therapy, even the laser one, a full periodontal examination is required. The second step involves the dentist or the dental hygienist to perform the professional teeth cleaning. In case of aggressive periodontitis, the periodontist may take x-rays exam to evaluate the bone re absorption grade.

Once the doctor has the whole picture of the case to be treated, the scaling and root planning procedure begins. The scope is to remove tartar calculus (hardened plaque) from below the gumline.

The treatment attempts to avoid the infection to progress to the surrounding area. After cleaning and disinfecting the pockets, they tend to shrink but there is always the risk other bacteria infiltrate and restart the infection (that is one of the reason why periodontal disease is a chronic pathology).

Traditional gum surgery

After administering the local anesthesia, the periodontist will use a scalpel to cut the gingival tissue and flip it back to fully expose the tooth root. After removing calculus, perfectly cleaning around the root, bone shaping and disinfecting, the gum flap is stitched back in the previous position.

if the periodontist evaluated that the alveolar bone is severely damaged, the bone graft procedure is also required to add bony material and stabilize the tooth.

How laser treatment works

laser treatment lower gums

During periodontal laser treatment, the periodontist addresses the pulsed Nd:YAG laser light within the pockets to kill bad bacteria.

Next it’s time to remove tartar calculus, dental plaque using ultrasonic and manual tools (scaling and root planning phase).

At this point of the periodontal laser treatment, the light is used to stimulate the stem cells and warm up the pockets tissue. A kind of yellowish seal forms and avoids bacteria and dental plaque from getting into the pockets again causing a new infection to restart..

The most known periodontal laser therapy is called LANAP laser treatment (Laser Assisted Regeneration) “is the only laser gum disease treatment FDA cleared for True Regeneration”

That uses the PerioLase MVP-7 laser type.

LANAP Protocol Video

Here is the protocol explanation

Benefits

Studies revels there are several benefit treating periodontal disease with laser over the traditional gum surgery; in fact laser:

  • Immediately blocks gingival bleeding;
  • Promotes periodontal tissue regeneration (alveolar bone and periodontal ligament)
  • Favors the rapid and spontaneous healing of the gingival pockets;
  • Reduces tooth mobility;
  • In most cases it does not require local anesthesia;
  • Stitches are not necessary;
  • The cases of relapses strongly decrease.
  • Eliminates discomfort during surgery and post-operative;
  • Reduce patient anxiety caused by the dental drill
  • Requires fewer follow-ups, less medication and almost no over the counter pain killer
  • Recovery and healing time are faster;
  • The success rate is close to 90%.

Risk and side effects

Even though all benefits listed above, this article would not be complete without listing the risks of the gum laser therapy.
the first risk is to get gingival damages coming from inappropriate wavelength or power level but it happens very rarely.

There also are a few clinics that are over-advertising laser therapies for easy money

Laser gum treatment cost in US, UK and worldwide

Before to deep dive into all costs of treating gum disease with laser, you should remember that the laser therapy is a complementary method to cure gingival problems. In fact, professional teeth cleaning ($75 to $100), scaling, root planning ($275 to $850) are also required to reach the result beating the pathology.

Going back to the main question “how much is the laser gum therapy cost ?”, the most honest answer is that it depends on the periodontal disease severity, degree of receding gums and extent of infection. Some patients may need to treat 3 or 4 teeth while others should undergo a full mouth bacterial decontamination.

In order to give you an idea about the laser gum therapy cost, dentists virtually divide the whole mouth in 4 quadrants (upper left upper right, lower left lower right) the average cost of the laser therapy for each quadrant is about $1000.

The costs listed above are intended without insurance.

Insurance Coverage

dental insurance companies logos

Usually dental insurances cover (partially or fully) the cost of the laser gum therapy because the coverage regards the disease not the method your dentist or periodontist will use.

Some other health insurances will cover the cost of diagnostic or preventive treatments while others won’t.

Before to undergo the laser therapy to treat periodontal or gum disease, you should ask your insurance provider which cost are deductible and which are not. In this way, you will have a clear idea about the price you are going to spend to cure your gingival problems with the laser method.

Post therapy recovery and oral hygiene routine

Independently from the therapy adopted by your dentist to treat the periodontal disease, you should pay adequate attention to your oral hygiene. Dental plaque can form in less than 24 hours so it is crucial to remove it before to see hard calculus attached to the root of your teeth.

Here are some simple but effective rules to keep teeth and gums as healthy as possible:

  • Brush and floss twice a day especially after each meal;
  • Remember to replace the toothbrush every 3 months;
  • Use an adequate toothpaste that preserves and protects your gums from bacteria
  • Ask your dentist for an antimicrobial mouthwash that contain chlorhexidine but follow the label instruction to avoid to stain your teeth enamel;
  • Consider to buy a water-flosser to remove food bristles from in between dental elements, orthodontic braces and brackets .
  • Visit your dentist every 6 months to get your teeth cleaned professionally or even more often if you see any gum disease symptoms as: gum bleeding, swelling and redness.

Periodontal laser therapy is still a “young” method to treat gum disease and not all clinician agree about its effectiveness over the conventional gum surgery.