Gum disease — officially called periodontitis — affects nearly 64.7 million American adults, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In its earliest stages, you might notice inflamed or bleeding gums. Left untreated, however, gum disease can increase your risk of tooth loss. Thankfully, there are several types of gum surgery that can help improve the health of your gums. A 2015 study confirms that gum surgery with a diode laser is not only effective in treating moderate-to-severe periodontitis but the diode laser also helps you heal more quickly.
In fact, diode lasers help you heal quickly whether you are having gum surgery, a frenectomy, or another soft tissue procedure.
Dr. Richard Hardt and Dr. Lawryn Monterroso and our dedicated team are proud to incorporate the diode laser into your treatment plans. Continue reading to learn more about the diode laser and how it impacts the healing process.
What is a diode laser?
Not all lasers are the same. A diode laser is designed for use on soft tissues, and the device emits invisible near-infrared wavelengths. For a dental diode laser, the wavelengths can range anywhere from 805–1064 nm. Diode lasers are used during various dental procedures, including:
- Laser-assisted whitening procedures
- Intraoral procedures, including biopsies and frenectomies
- Periodontal procedures, including gingivectomy
- Contouring gum tissue to enhance the appearance of a gummy smile
- Exposing unerupted teeth
When used in these various situations, the diode laser is a minimally invasive procedure (compared with surgery with a scalpel) and provides you with many benefits during the healing process.
When a diode laser is used, the wavelength both cuts the tissue and coagulates it at the same time. Because the tissue is simultaneously cauterized, there is less bleeding. This helps you heal quickly because there are no stitches to clean or care for.
Studies show that the use of diode lasers during dental procedures comes with another key benefit: reduced swelling. Swelling — sometimes called edema — in the mouth can cause tenderness and make it difficult to eat comfortably. With a reduced risk of swelling, you’ll find that your recovery period is smoother.
Diode lasers have bactericidal capabilities, which simply means that they can eliminate bacteria that are built up in periodontal pockets. Eliminating bacteria facilitates your recovery because there is a smaller chance of infection once pesky bacteria are out of the equation.
Tip: Even though diode lasers may kill bacteria, continue to take any antibiotics that are prescribed to you.
Is the diode laser right for you?
If you’re contemplating a soft tissue procedure (e.g., gum contouring or frenectomy) but don’t want the invasiveness of traditional oral surgery, laser treatment may be right for you. To learn more about laser dentistry or to schedule an appointment, call our Porterville, California clinic at 424-260-1992.