Laser Away Gum Disease

January 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
It's a silent disease that often doesn't show symptoms until it's too late, and up to one in eight people have it. If left untreated, gum disease could lead to a toothless mouth. Traditional treatment means invasive surgery, but now, dentists are zapping diseased gums away -- virtually pain-free.Gail miller loves a good game of cribbage. But when it comes to her teeth, she wasn't dealt a good hand. She was diagnosed with gum disease at age 40.

"Absolutely, I was surprised." Gail Miller told Ivanhoe.

After having surgery, she thought her problems were over. But 25 years later, they came back. This time, she opted for a new type of treatment.

"We are taking a little fiber that's a little thicker than a hair. We're inserting that below the gum line," explains Robert J. Yu, D.M.D., a board certified periodontist at Tampa Bay Dental Implants & Periodontics, in Saint Petersburg, Florida. This laser kills disease-causing bacteria below the gums while leaving healthy tissue alone. Studies show it helps regenerate lost bone and gums.

"There is almost no bleeding -- very little bleeding at all," said Dr. Yu.

Traditional surgery meant cutting open the gums, so they could be scraped clean and often weeks of downtime.

"About 25 years ago, I had the traditional, and it was extremely painful. My kids thought I was dead. I was laying in bed. I couldn't move," Janis Swiderski, who suffers from gum disease recalls.

Last week, Janis Swiderski had the laser on the right side of her gums. This week, she returned for the other side.

"I had no pain at all, and I went back to work the next day," Janis Swiderski recalled.

"You can see, already, that her gums are a lot healthier," Dr. Yu explains.

Gail is also happy with her results.

"I'll say one thing. The surgery has made chewing fruit much easier for me," Miller said.

She hopes to leave the past behind her. Dr. Yu says, in some cases, the traditional gum surgery works better, and he still performs it from time to time. The laser option costs about the same as the traditional surgery and can be a little less.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Robert J. Yu, DMD
Tampa Bay Dental Implants & Periodontics
Saint Petersburg, FL
(727) 384-9122


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