Treating Periodontal Pockets with the Laser

Laser WPT (Wave Optimized Periodontal Therapy)

Nci-vol-2268-300_argon_ion_laserThis is the latest non-invasive therapy for deep periodontal pockets. Step one is to gently remove the epithelial lining from the pocket with the Nd-yag laser. Then the Erbium-yag laser assists in removing all the plaque and tartar deposits from the root surface. Cavitron and hand scaling are used to refine the root surface. The alveolar bone is then stimulated with laser energy to initiate osteogenesis (bone regeneration). Lastly the pocket is closed with a blood clot coagulated by the laser. This is all completed under local anesthesia and is no more painful than a deep cleaning. No sutures of flapping of tissue is needed.

laser_playThe basis of this treatment is that by removing the bacterial component of the pocket, (sterilizing the pocket with the laser), cleaning the tooth root of all debris, stimulating the surrounding bone and closing the pocket with a blood clot, the stage is set for the body to heal the area much as our skin heals a cut or scrape. It takes a little time for the healing to occur, usually a few months. The pocket remains mostly closed and slowly the underlying bone and connective tissue rebuild and strengthen the tooth. Sometimes it is necessary to repeat the procedure as the pocket depth shrinks to recharge the healing potential. Since the procedure is short and painless this is a simple 30 minute job.

post-operative-hyperocclusion-dental-fillings-320

Red markings indicate points of hyperocclusion.

It is important that during the healing period the tooth is not in hyperocclusion. That is, being hit too hard by the opposing tooth. For that reason it is often necessary to adjust the bite and protect the involved teeth with a nightguard. This therapy promises wonderful help for severely infected gums without the need for conventional surgery. For more reading you may want to take a look at this longer, more general article on how laser treatments are used by periodontists.