Is Laser Gum Surgery Worth It
Gum diseases are among the most common oral health problems in America today. Some of these conditions include gingivitis and periodontal disease. These conditions cause inflammation and infection of your gums and can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. The good news is that there are many ways to treat and prevent these ailments. One treatment option is called laser gum surgery. This procedure is done with a special laser device that makes tiny cuts into the tissue surrounding your gums. These cuts allow for healing of the gums and prevention of bacteria from entering the area. In some cases, this laser technique may even be used on teeth as well. Before and after undergoing laser surgery, you will receive instructions about proper care to keep your mouth clean and healthy until the wound heals completely. Read on to learn more about how lasers work during laser surgery and what results you might expect.
Lasers were first developed by physicist Theodore Maiman in 1960. Today, they are widely used in medical procedures because they provide precision and accuracy. During laser therapy, a beam of light is emitted through a small hole drilled into an object. When light strikes material at different frequencies, such as water, it causes chemical reactions within the target substance. Lasers use this phenomenon to perform tasks like cutting, welding and drilling without damaging nearby tissues. When using a laser, doctors must take precautions to ensure patient safety. For example, when performing laser eye surgery, the doctor must protect the eyes from exposure to ultraviolet rays. Other things that must be taken into consideration before beginning laser surgery include the size of the patient’s surgical site, the type of anesthesia used and the number of treatments required.
During laser gum surgery, a dentist or other qualified professional will drill holes into the soft tissue around your gums. They will then apply a laser energy source that penetrates the gum tissue and creates small cuts. After applying heat to the gum tissue, the laser also stimulates the body to produce blood vessels and collagen (connective tissue) which promotes healing and prevents scarring. Once the process has finished, sutures or staples are placed over the wound to close it up. You should avoid rinsing your mouth vigorously right away after completion of laser surgery because doing so could increase bleeding. Instead, just brush your teeth normally, eat anything that requires chewing and drink lots of fluids. Your doctor will give you specific advice on how best to care for yourself following laser gum surgery based on your individual situation. He or she may ask you to avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, taking medications or visiting your dental office for several weeks following surgery. You will probably be asked to wear a protective splint on your upper jaw until the wound has fully healed.
If you decide to have laser surgery, you should consult your doctor about any concerns or questions you might have beforehand. If you choose to go forward with the procedure, make sure that you thoroughly discuss all aspects of the surgical plan with your surgeon. Ask him or her about possible side effects or complications that might arise from the procedure. Also find out whether he or she uses only FDA-approved equipment and drugs. Finally, consider asking about financial compensation coverage in case something goes wrong. With proper planning and preparation, laser gum surgery provides a minimally invasive way to restore your gums’ appearance while preventing infections and tooth loss.
To read more articles on the latest trends in dentistry, visit our Dental Care section on EzineArticles.com.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Reprinted from Ezine Articles under Creative Commons license.
You’ve made the decision to get laser gum surgery — now what? Here are some tips for preparing before, during and after the procedure.
1. Consult with your doctor. Discuss any medications you’re currently taking or have recently stopped taking. Although lasers are generally safe, certain medications can interact badly with them, causing adverse side effects. Drugs containing tetracyclines, retinoids, anticoagulants, antihistamines, barbiturates, phenytoin, carbamazepine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, thioridazine and triamcinolone acetonide cause severe interaction with laser beams. Inform your physician about all prescription and nonprescription medicines you take daily, including herbal remedies and vitamin supplements.
2. Get a physical exam. Visit your primary care physician to determine whether you’re fit enough to undergo a minor surgical procedure. Your doctor may order additional tests to assess your overall health, including lab testing, x-rays and electrocardiograms (ECGs).
3. Arrange transportation. Call ahead to schedule pick-up time and arrange for someone to drive you home afterward.
4. Prepare for the day. Plan meals, pack snacks and beverages, bring entertainment and relax before going in for the procedure.
5. Take note of allergies. Find out what types of food you can and cannot consume prior to the surgery. Note any allergies you have to medications, latex gloves and bandages.
6. Bring someone along who understands your condition. A friend or family member may want to accompany you to the procedure.
7. Stay positive. Positive thinking will help you feel better throughout the entire experience.
8. Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the risk of postoperative bleeding, swelling and dry socket.
9. Wear comfortable clothing. Choose loose fitting garments with no zippers or buttons. Avoid tight-fitting clothes that constrict movement and circulation.
10. Use sunscreen. Sunlight exposure can damage skin cells and accelerate aging. Wear sunblock and sunglasses whenever outdoors.
11. Shower well before coming in for the procedure. Make sure you don’t shave, wax or pluck eyebrows on the scheduled day.
12. Drink plenty of liquids. Water helps flush waste products out of your system and keeps your bladder empty. Liquids can also reduce discomfort during the procedure.
13. Brush your teeth. Brushing your teeth before the procedure ensures that nothing gets between the laser tip and the enamel surface. Toothpaste contains acid that can react poorly with the laser.
14. Rinse your mouth. To minimize bleeding, rinse your mouth with warm salty water to remove debris and stimulate saliva production.
15. Be prepared for post-op care. Have someone call your insurance company to report the procedure. Pack gauze pads, antibiotic ointment, tape and medicine for sore throat at least 48 hours after the operation.
16. Keep all appointments. Keep track of each appointment, test and follow-up session. Write down important information, dates and names of staff members involved.
17. Document symptoms. Record any changes in your general health status and the frequency of any unusual symptoms.
18. Expect side effects. Side effects are normal and expected responses to laser therapy. Possible side effects include temporary bruising, redness, tenderness, mild swelling, halos around the treated areas and blisters.
19. Report side effects. Immediately notify your doctor if you have any unusual reactions to the laser.
20. Know emergency contact numbers. Leave copies of your emergency contacts with friends, relatives and coworkers. Provide their addresses and phone numbers, and put a copy inside your wallet.
21. Receive informed consent forms. Review the documents carefully to understand exactly what will happen during the procedure.
22. Rest easy. Most people return to their preprocedure routines quickly after finishing laser therapy. Thereafter, you’ll want to focus on your long-term health and wellness instead of making lifestyle adjustments.
23. Request privacy. Tell the technician where you would prefer to lie during the procedure. Request that your chart stay locked away from others.
24. Relax. Try deep breathing exercises, meditation techniques or relaxation tapes to calm your nerves.
25. Dress comfortably. Remove jewelry, bracelets and necklaces. Loose, comfortable clothing is recommended. No strenuous activity 24 hours before or after the procedure.
26. Eat lightly. Avoid foods high in salt, sugar and fat. Foods rich in protein, carbohydrates and vitamins are OK. Do not eat four hours before or two hours after the procedure.
27. Chew ice. Ice chips provide relief for swollen lips and cheeks, but too much can numb your tongue.
28. Hydrate. Offer plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated. Drinking lots of fluids helps keep your mouth moist and reduces the chance of dry socket.
29. Soothe your mind. Distract yourself with activities like reading, knitting or talking to a supportive friend or relative.
30. Protect your eyes. Cover your eyes with goggles that block UV rays. Wear thick, dark sunglasses outside the operating room.
31. Follow directions. Listen closely to the instructions provided by the technician. Remember that you’re not alone; the operator is standing by to assist you every step of the way.
32. Let them know when you’re feeling faint. Tell nurses and technicians when you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing chest pains.
33. Remain still. While most laser procedures involve moving around during the procedure, sitting upright for laser gum surgery offers the safest approach.
34. Apply cold compresses. Apply cold compresses to your face and head immediately after your
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