Periodontal disease is growing at nearly epidemic rates. This painful inflammation of the gums affects nearly 80% of adults in the US. There have been many studies linking periodontal disease to the likelihood of heart disease, kidney failure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and stroke.
This is due to the inflammation caused by bacteria which invades the pockets in the gums around the teeth. These pockets can be an attractive environment for a bacterial colony to take hold. As the colony expands into billions of bacteria, they have the potential to cause inflammation. There is also a possibility of harmful bacteria entering the blood stream. Harmful bacteria growing in the periodontal environment can even be inhaled, entering the system through the bronchial lining.
Our immune system is designed to deal with these attacks, but with the strain of modern life, our immune system can use all the help it can get. We can help to protect ourselves with normal dental hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, and regular visits to the dentist for check-ups and cleaning. A new tool in the dentist’s arsenal is Laser Bacterial Reduction (LBR).
LBR is accomplished by the technician using a non-cutting dental laser. The high intensity light energy of the laser is focused around the teeth and into the periodontal pockets during a regular cleaning. During a cleaning, there is a high potential for some bleeding, which will give the bacteria another potential entry point. When LBR is performed, most of the bacteria are killed, greatly reducing the strain on the immune system and making the cleaning safer.
The procedures are highly effective, yet non-invasive and painless. The actual treatment is inexpensive to the patient. There is a significant capital investment for the laser equipment so many offices have not yet adopted this effective preventative technique. Although the treatments have shown a great deal of benefit, the dental insurance industry has been slow to adopt LBR as a part of their covered benefits, so it is an out of pocket expense for patients.
The benefits of Laser Bacterial Reduction make the treatment a worthwhile investment. They include reduced risk of cross-contamination within the mouth during cleaning and treatments, boosting the immune system, and an overall improvement to health. LBR also stimulates the periodontal tissues, making them more resistant to infection.
LBR only take 5-10 minutes. We highly recommend that patients make the availability of LBR and other dental laser treatments part of their consideration when they are looking for a Seattle area dentist.