I recently purchased a PerioLase dental laser. It’s a fabulous tool.

Periodontitis, or gum disease, happens when a bacterial infection develops between the teeth and gums. Naturally, gums are supposed to fit around the teeth snugly. A shallow pocket, however, does exist between healthy teeth and gums, one that should not be deep, painful, or swollen.

The presence of these pockets is why it’s so important to floss. Too many people are lazy about flossing and/or irrigating. The truth is that food will get stuck in those pockets and literally rot right there in your mouth. Pathogenic bacteria will find that leftover food and feast on it. Unfortunately, surrounding tissues are victimized as well while the body’s immune system tries to eliminate the infection. Oral sensitivity, pain, and bad smells will ensue. It sounds disgusting because it is. So floss!

Treating periodontitis traditionally has required incisions and stitches; that means pain and bleeding. Surgical methods of gum disease therapy are still the norm. The vast majority of dentists don’t care for the cost and training involved in adding a laser to their practice. Their reasoning is that it cannot completely replace a drill, so why bother?

The beauty of laser therapy is that it is clean, quick, and virtually painless. There is little to no need for anesthesia (which, if needed, would be local) and it yields great results. One laser can be adjusted to different strengths for different uses. I’ll go over that and how we’d apply it to real-life situations in the next post.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles


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