Non-Surgical Gum Care

Oral hygiene is essential for good overall health. If an individual’s gum tissue surrounding the teeth are inflamed, it can cause bacteria to easily enter the periodontal pockets and the bloodstream, which can lead to life threatening diseases. The United States Surgeon General has suggested that bacteria that is linked to periodontal disease and chronic gum inflammation can put individuals at risk for a wide range of health problems, which includes heart attacks, strokes, and Alzheimer’s disease. There have also been studies that have proven bacteria that is associated with periodontal disease can be a cause for potentially fatal health conditions. Furthermore, individuals with diabetes who have poor gum health are twice as likely to have heart disease or kidney failure as opposed to diabetics who have healthy gums. An infection in the gums can cause them to bleed when you brush and floss, but sometimes the bacteria can be hidden in areas that you can't reach when you brush.  Dr. Rice and her hygienists have over 70 years combined experience at diagnosing and treating gingivitis and periodontal disease at Cool Springs Laser Dentistry. Our laser technology and enhanced comfort for all procedures has helped families in Franklin, Brentwood and Nashville Tennessee, to get healthy and stay healthy. Make an appointment today using the online scheduling tool or by calling our office.

Non-Surgical Gum Treatment and Prevention Q & A
Cool Springs Laser Dentistry

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is any infection that invades the connective tissue around your teeth that keeps the teeth attached to the bone. Inflammation of your gums, known as gingivitis, is the start of periodontal disease. If left untreated, it can spread to the bone and other supportive tissues that keep your roots healthy and protect them from loosening. The tooth may be all that you see above the gumline, but periodontal ligament and the alveolar bone are structures that the bacteria of periodontal disease can silently attack. This attack is why teeth loosen and need to be extracted.

How can I prevent periodontal disease?

Daily flossing and brushing go a long way in preventing the development of periodontal disease, along with regular visits to Cool Laser Dentistry for professional cleanings. Dr. Rice recommends you come in once every six months, but you may need to visit more often if you already have gingivitis or periodontal disease. Personal oral hygiene helps prevent disease because it scrubs away the plaque that harbors bacteria. Professional cleanings get at places you just can’t reach with a regular toothbrush or floss. But some people have bacteria in their mouth that is more aggressive in damaging the gums that they can't control. Here at Cool Springs Laser Dentistry, we will do a special saliva test if we see signs of gum damage or hidden disease. That way you can get treatment early without surgery, and be confident that your mouth will be healthy for life.

Why do I have gum disease if I brush and floss regularly?

Sometimes, even when you do all the right things, you can still develop periodontal disease. Harmful bacteria can be present for a long time, but may remain in a dormant state as long as your immune system is working well. Then, when you’re subject to subtle stresses or an illness that taxes your immune system, it can set in motion a chain reaction that results in the development of gum disease, among other illnesses. Some people have a genetic predisposition to harboring the bacteria that is responsible for periodontal disease. Keep up with your regular professional cleanings and checkups so if problems do arise, they’re taken care of in a timely manner, so that you don't lose your teeth and end up with needless and expensive dental treatment or gum surgery.

What are the ways I can treat my gum disease?

Gum disease is easier treated when it is diagnosed early. That way, painful gum surgery can be avoided. The standard periodontal therapy is called SRP (Scaling and Root Planing). Some people call it a deep cleaning, but it is much more than that. During SRP, the disease areas are made numb with a local anesthesia and the areas infected by bacteria in the unreachable areas of the mouth are treated using specialized instruments, irrigants and powder time-released antibiotics. Once the diseased root surfaces are smoothed of all toxins and bacteria, the immune system can more efficiently begin the healing process of reattaching the damaged collagen fibers that are so important in holding the teeth in the bone. Often the laser is used LBR (Laser Bacterial Reduction) to additionally reduce the bacteria in the periodontal pockets. Few people require much more than a Tylenol or Ibuprofen after the numbness wears off. 

In addition to non-surgical periodontal therapy that the hygienists routinely provide, Dr Rice has received training by the Academy of Clinical Technology at LVI, to perform the Laser Wavelength Assisted Periodontal Microsurgery with the NDYAGG and Erbium LightWalker Laser for more severe cases. Again, patients require much less narcotic pain management when compared to tradition periodontal surgery.

What are the complications if I don't treat my periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease affects your overall health. Along with tooth loss, it may have a connection to such conditions as:

  • Heart disease
  • Premature births
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory disease
  • Alzheimer's 
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Knee and Hip replacement failure
The health of the teeth is paramount to the health of your entire body.


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  • "I found everyone at this practice to be exceptionally professional, pleasant, and helpful. This level of care is superior, and the staff goes above and beyond."
    KELLY T.
  • "Highly recommend! Did not feel like I was being treated with a "cookie cutter" solution to a dental issue. Greatly appreciated!"
    CINDY R.
  • "Making the decision to go to this practice was a wise move. Everyone is professional and friendly. They are thorough and explain everything to you."
    SAM M.
  • "I always feel at ease when I'm in the dental chair. She makes sure that I am comfortable at all times and that I am not in any pain whatsoever."
    HALEY R.
  • ""Been going their since 2005. She completely reversed my early gum disease and corrected my poorly done old crowns and later helping me on the cosmetic side."
    ROB A.