In orthodontics, we use a type of laser that is specific to pigment – tissues that have color. We use a soft-tissue diode laser to trim the gums. We use the laser to speed orthodontics and to enhance the aesthetic outcome of treatment.
Since the diode laser uses a narrow beam of single wavelength light it can be used with great care. Recontouring gums: the laser cuts with incredible precision, stops bleeding, and disinfects all at once. Because it is highly focused it doesn’t affect adjacent tissue which reduces inflammation and permits rapid healing which is nearly painless.
We only recontour the gums that need to be re-shaped to enhance treatment.
First, we apply a topical anesthetic jelly to the gums. In just a couple minutes the gums are profoundly numb. Dr. David Ross sculpts the gums to the appropriate size and shape. All you feel is the movement of the laser tip.
When the numbness wears off in less than a half hour, it is usually not sore at all. Rarely, people take Tylenol or Ibuprofen and there is never a need for prescription pain medicine. On some people, the topical anesthetic itself can irritate the gums causing some redness the day after the procedure.
The area looks a little ragged the first day and it may bleed a little when brushed. However, the most important thing for healing is to keep the teeth clean. The next day the gums will be a little red around the site. In a few days the area will be dramatically healed. Cleanliness determines healing time: keep the teeth very clean and the gums heal very quickly (days).
Ideal Bracket Positioning
Very commonly the gums may not have receded to properly place an orthodontic bracket, or the teeth may erupt more slowly than expected, or are blocked out of place. With a laser we alter the contour of the gums to properly place a bracket. Recontouring the gums permits much more precise bracket placement. The result: less time in braces, fewer appointments, less hassle. You save time and money.
Impactions refer to teeth that just don’t grow through the gums. Often teeth grow right up to the surface, but just can’t poke through the gums. In the past, to align these teeth we could wait months or refer for an expensive surgical exposure. Now shallow impactions are easily, painlessly handled during a quick, routine orthodontic visit.
A frenum is a band of tissue that connects a movable tissue from a less movable tissue such as the band that connects the upper lip to the gums.
Sometimes the frenum is excessively bulky or it attaches too far down between the upper front teeth contributing to space problems (diastema). A low bulky frenum is also unaesthetic. A frenectomy is a procedure that reduces an excessive frenum and moves the attachment higher for a more aesthetic outcome.
Sometimes the gums extend too far down on the upper front teeth which creates a ‘gummy smile’. Excessive gums can make the teeth look small and poorly contoured. The solution: re-contour and reshape the redundant gums (gingival recontouring).
In the past we referred people for gum recontouring. Problem was: it didn’t get done. Whether the issue was expense, inconvenience, not understanding the benefits, or any combination the outcome was a diminished smile. We now incorporate gingival (gum) aesthetics into our overall treatment plan to create a finer result.
Laser orthodontics is one of many advances Dr Ross uses daily to give our patients the best result in the least amount of time with the least hassle, intervention, and expense.