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Research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that nearly 50 percent of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease. Scaling and root planing, also known as a deep cleaning, is generally used as an initial, conservative treatment when the disease is mild.

However, in its more aggressive stages, laser therapy may be recommended. During gum disease laser therapy, a specialized dental laser is used to eradicate unhealthy bacteria and damaged tissue, allowing the gums to reattach to the base of the teeth.

This prevents bacteria from developing below the gum line, as well as improves the appearance and health of the gums. With the introduction of lasers into dental care, patients can experience more comfortable treatment, a faster recovery, and a reduced risk of infection.

Benefits of Laser Dentistry

Compared to traditional gum surgery, laser therapy offers several benefits, including:

  • Minimally invasive treatment
  • No scalpel or sutures required
  • Smoother, faster recovery
  • Reduced pain and bleeding
  • More accurate and aesthetically pleasing results
  • Preserves more healthy gum tissue
  • Lower risk of infection

Patients with moderate gum disease and periodontal pockets greater than 4 mm are typically good candidates. In more severe cases, your doctor may recommend tissue grafting or another type of surgery.

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The Laser Therapy Procedure

During treatment, a dentist, periodontist, or other type of specialist will use a soft tissue laser to remove diseased tissue and bacteria within the pockets along the base of the teeth. The surrounding, healthy tissue will remain unaffected. Before treatment, a local anesthetic will be applied to numb the area.

With the introduction of lasers into dental care, patients can experience more comfortable treatment, a faster recovery, and a reduced risk of infection.

Once the damaged tissue has been removed, a dental instrument known as a scaler will be used to smooth the surface of the dental roots. The doctor may also apply a gel or membrane containing platelets or similar material to promote healthy tissue generation. By reducing the size of the pocket depths, the gums can more securely attach to the base of the teeth and prevent bacteria from reentering. Treatment sessions generally take about two to three hours and can be completed in one office visit. In more complex cases, an additional office visit may be required.

Recovery and Aftercare Following Laser Therapy

Though some dietary restrictions and hygiene modifications are expected, recovery is fairly quick and straightforward. During your initial consultation, the doctor will discuss post-operative care and provide you with a list of instructions to follow so you know what to expect.

After laser therapy, it is normal to experience slight tenderness or temperature sensitivity, in addition to some swelling. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever and eating soft foods should help reduce these side effects. Over the course of your recovery, you may also experience some slight bleeding and changes in the color of the treated gum tissue. As the gums continue to heal, color will normalize and the gums will start to look healthier.

John F. Rink DDS, AAACD

Protect Your Smile and Your Health

Studies have shown that the health of your mouth can directly impact the health of your body, either positively or negatively. Gum disease has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even stroke. By taking good care of your teeth and gums, you can minimize your risk for related issues and enjoy a healthier smile.

Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19 View Update

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To Our Wonderful Family of Patients:

Last night, my wife Connie and I enjoyed the most delicious take-out dinner from FIG restaurant. As always, the food was excellent; however, it was most satisfying to see the local restaurant, along with others, begin its comeback. Our resilient city feels like it is coming back to life—parks are opening and folks and families are enjoying the wonderful spring Charleston air. The Rink dental team is, too, readying itself for the next chapter of practicing dentistry as the community begins reopening its doors.

We are concentrating on continuing to advance our rock-solid foundation of state-of-the-art infection control. We were blessed to keep our dedicated and passionate team employed during the crisis, and have devoted the entire month of April to research, systematically developing, purchasing and installing the best additional infection control protocols and equipment available. We are ready. This month we will begin the process of a “soft opening” of our practice. What this means for our patients is a resumption of the same excellent restorative, esthetic, and preventive care in the safest and most secure environment available anywhere.

Additional safety steps will include asking our patients to wait for their appointments in their cars rather than in the reception area. We will ask that you take a moment to fill out a short questionnaire upon your arrival regarding your health and recent travels. We will take everyone’s temperature (including the team) with a forehead scanner as you enter the practice. We will clean and disinfect all touchpoints in the office in between each patient. We have procured the highest quality KN95 masks and face shields for the staff and have carefully researched and purchased the most advanced aerosol containment and purification systems available for the safety of all our patients. These are a few examples of how we have added additional layers of protection for your and our staff’s benefit.

Finally, I wholly understand that each one of you is an individual with specific desires, needs, and comfort levels. I want you to know that we are here to actively listen to you and to create the best environment for your emotional health. Some will be ready sooner than others to receive care again at our office. Let’s keep the lines of communication open and please know that our relationship with you and your family is our highest priority.

We look forward to reuniting with everyone but until that time it is our wish that you enjoy good health, good spirits, and peace.

To your optimal dental health,

- John F. Rink, DDS, AAACD and team

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