Our incorporation of Waterlase Laser technology is improving the already-superb patient comfort, care, and treatment that we provide our patients at North Raleigh Periodontics. While Waterlase can be used for a variety of treatments, from deep cleaning to the prevention of gum recession, Waterlase is especially effective when utilized to treat peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis.
What is peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis? Both of these conditions, which result from the immune system’s defensive response to bacterial accumulation, develop in some patients after they have had dental implants placed. Peri-implant mucositis is gum inflammation found around the soft-tissue of a dental implant. It is a result of the buildup of plaque biofilm in the soft gum tissue, but it may be reversible if caught early.
On the other hand, peri-implantitis occurs when not only the gum around the dental implant post is inflamed, but also the bone supporting the implant begins to deteriorate. I clinically diagnose peri-implantitis when I note pus and bleeding around the implant post, and when I see radio-graphic evidence of bone loss. Generally, the cause of peri-implantitis is bacteria and the body’s inflammatory response to the presence of plaque; the pH around the neck of the implant becomes acidic, and the implant post begins to oxidize. This can cause tenderness and pain, and the body’s immune system begins to reject the implant post. However, if caught early enough, we may be able to detoxify the implant post and save the implant.
How does laser therapy improve treatment of peri-implantitis? Using the Waterlase laser therapy and its side-firing tip that is unique to peri-implantitis treatment, I am able to regenerate bone and gum attachment back to the dental implant post. This reattachment prevents the body from being able to reject the implant and thereby saves the implant itself. Furthermore, the laser energy gently and precisely clears the bacteria from within the threads of the implant where it tends to accumulate, out of patients’ reach when they try to clean the area at home.
Moreover, my use of laser therapy allows me to remove infected tissue in a more efficient manner because the laser coagulates the infected tissue, making the process of removing the unhealthy tissue easier and quicker. Also, the laser offers significant advantages in managing and treating peri-implantitis including reduced pain and discomfort compared to conventional treatment, decreased need for pain medication, and lessened post-operative discomfort. Because the Waterlase performs the incision precisely and disinfects the operative site as it works, it also promotes faster healing.
Peri-implantitis understandably causes anxiety to patients with implants because of the possibility that the bacterial inflammation will force the body to reject the dental implant. Some ways that individuals can decrease the likelihood of experiencing peri-implantitis are to avoid smoking and to maintain a consistent and thorough oral hygiene regimen. When professional intervention is needed, however, laser technology allows me to not only effectively treat this disease, but also to increase the comfort and quality of patient care at the same time. We are excited to be able to offer this cutting-edge technology to our patients here at North Raleigh Periodontics!