What is Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)?

 

Periodontal disease begins when a thin film called plaque accumulates over the teeth and calcium from saliva hardens the plaque—the calcified plaque is called “tartar” or calculus. Certain type of bacteria that live in this plaque and calculus leads to gum tissue. Your body tries to fight this infection (bacteria) with an inflammatory attack, sending white blood cells to the area to destroy the bacteria. This inflammation process causes the tissue to bleed easily when you brush or floss. This stage of the condition is called gingivitis.

If the infection and inflammation persist , it becomes a chronic inflammatory condition where, in addition to the gums, bone around the teeth are destroyed—often with no symptoms. At this stage it is called periodontitis.

I feel fine. Why is it important to get my gum disease treated? The health risks of gum disease go far beyond the loss of teeth. There is a systemic connection between periodontal disease and a number of serious medical conditions. People with periodontal disease has been linked to health problems, including heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, certain cancers, osteoporosis, HPV, and pregnancy complications.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

  • Swollen gums that are red and bleed easily

  • Bad breath

  • Teeth that seem to be loose or moving away from one another

  • Pus between your teeth and gums

  • Change in your bite (the way your teeth fit together)

  • Change in the way your partial denture or implant-supported restoration fit

  • Or no symptoms at all!

 

What are the risk factors for gum disease?

 

Well-known risk factors for periodontitis include genetics, stress, smoking, irregular or no dental visits, no brushing or flossing, and some medical conditions. Smokers are three times more likely to develop periodontal disease than non-smokers.

FAQs – The LANAP®/Laser Assisted Treatment

What Is The LANAP® /Laser Assisted Treatment?

The LANAP or Laser assisted treatment is a laser-based treatment for periodontal disease, that uses a very specific laser that targets the bacteria that causes gum disease. The LANAP protocol is the only surgical laser gum disease treatment that is FDA-cleared and supported with histological studies and clinical results.

How Does It Work?

Tartar or calculus, associated with inflamed and bleeding gums, is removed form the root surface of the tooth using an ultrasonic scaler and small instruments. Then, a small amount of light energy from a laser is directed through a tiny fiber, which is gently placed between the gum and tooth. This light energy removes a tiny amount of diseased tissue and aids in reducing the bacteria associated with the disease. After the area is thoroughly cleaned, the body can heal the area naturally.

Does It Hurt?

Although the procedure itself can be virtually painless, we may anesthetize the area for the patient’s comfort. Post-procedure discomfort is typically minimal and of short duration.

How Long Does It Take?

Depending on the severity of the patient’s periodontal disease, treatment may be accomplished in one office visit or in multiple visits

What To Expect: Your LANAP / Laser Assisted Surgery

LANAP periodontal surgery is a full-mouth procedure usually completed in two 2 to 2 ½ hour visits. We complete one side of the mouth during the first visit, and complete the other side on the second visit. Surgeries are usually scheduled within one week of one another. It is common to quickly return to work or other activities.

What To Expect: The First Few Days

You may experience mild aching, throbbing, and soreness of the treated areas for the first couple days—this can be helped with mild pain medications. The tissue around the teeth may appear discolored. Your bite may feel slightly different, but the teeth will adapt. You cannot brush or floss for the first 7-10 days after treatment, and you will need to follow a liquid or mushy diet. Smoking decreases results for all gum treatments, including LANAP.

What To Expect: Follow-Up Care

As the gums heal, the teeth will shift, and your bite will need to be adjusted several times over the coming months. Splints may be fabricated to stabilize and immobilize the teeth. It is important that you wear these splints as instructed to promote healing. Expect to have your teeth professionally cleaned every three months for at least the first year, and then as recommended by your dentist.

Who Is A Candidate For LANAP / Laser Assisted Surgery?

Patients with moderate-to-severe gum disease can especially benefit from the LANAP / Laser assisted protocol. The Laser protocol is also an excellent treatment option for patients who are fearful of conventional scalpel surgery and patients taking certain medications, such as blood thinners. With the LANAP protocol, patients do not have to stop taking any medications.

FAQs - Dental Implant

 

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made of highly biocompatible material called titanium that is placed into your jaw bone to hold a replacement tooth that look, feel, and function just like natural teeth.

 
What are the benefits of dental implants?

Dental implants is the best option for single or multiple missing teeth as they are a permanent solution in your mouth preserving your facial structures and jaw bone, you can talk, eat and smile with confidence, and the procedure is very predictable. The dental implant can be particularly beneficial when you miss a single tooth as there is no need to ground down adjacent teeth to supported a fixed bridge.

 

How are dental implants different than conventional dentures?

Dentures are a removable appliance that replace partial or full set of missing teeth. They can be sometimes cumbersome to use, difficult to retain in your mouth when you talk or eat, difficult to get used to and affect your confidence to smile while dental implants looks and feel just like natural teeth.

 
Who can place a dental implant?

Doctors that have specialized training in implant dentistry. Dr. Hong completed additional 3 years of training in implant dentistry after dental school. He is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and he taught at University of Washington supervising many residents from simple to complex implant cases.

 
What is the cost of dental implant?

The cost of dental implants varies based on how many implants are needed, if bone augmentation is required, type of restoration you need and amount of insurance coverage. The final cost of your dental implant will be determined after a consultation with Dr. Hong when all of these factors have been addressed. Sometimes dental implant may be more cost effective in the long term.


Is the implant surgery painful?

No. Dental implants surgery are performed under local anesthetic to help minimize discomfort or pain. If you have dental anxiety, you should consult with Dr. Hong about sedation options.


How long does implant last?

Dental implant like teeth requires proper care to  ensure long term success. When cared properly by means of diligent oral hygiene and regular dental visits, implant should last over 30 years or more.