If you need periodontal treatment but prefer to avoid surgery, there are several effective, non-invasive options to consider. Carol E. Follette DDS, a Santa Monica dentist with wide-ranging expertise including laser periodontics, offers helpful insight into these solutions.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease (aka gum disease), is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. The disease begins as a bacterial infection caused by poor tooth and gum care (specifically, a lack of regular brushing and flossing), and gradually spreads to the gum and bone tissue surrounding the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bone and tooth loss.

Non-invasive Periodontal Procedures

Periodontal Laser Treatment

Another non-invasive option for consideration is periodontal laser treatment. Over the last decade-plus, lasers have become prevalent in a variety of non-invasive, outpatient procedures. Contrary to what some people might think, there is nothing harmful about using a laser, and there is no pain involved with periodontal laser treatment. On the contrary, the treatment is comfortable and gentle, so much so that recovery time is minimal. Laser periodontal treatment not only rids the gums, teeth, and bone of harmful bacteria, it facilitates gum tissue regeneration.

Scaling and Root Planing

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) suggests that scaling and root planing is a very effective periodontal solution. In fact, no further active treatment is required after the first undertaking, although periodic therapy is recommended in order to maintain gum health. Scaling and root planing represents a meticulous cleaning of a patient’s root surfaces, with a three-fold objective: to smooth the tooth root, remove plaque and tartar from deep in-gum pockets caused by decay, and rid the gums of harmful bacterial toxins. Scaling and root planing can be supported post-treatment via therapies including antibiotics and antimicrobial delivery.

Tray Delivery

Similar to fluoride trays prescribed by dental professionals to help prevent tooth decay, a periodontal tray delivery system is based on a custom tray that’s created using an impression of a patient’s mouth. A dentist prescribed medications to treat the patient’s periodontal problem (i.e. gum disease), and this medication is delivered when the patient inserts the tray into his mouth while at home.

Perioscopy and Localized Medication

Perioscopy is a cutting-edge technique that combines a miniature dental endoscope (a camera used to look inside the body) with the latest lighting, video, and magnification technology. With perioscopy, a dentist can examine the area under a patient’s gum line and locate bacteria deposits. Once pinpointed, localized medication can be applied to the affected area in an effort to eliminate the bacteria and assist in reinvigorating the gums. Perioscopy’s usage and effectiveness is intertwined with the extent of a patient’s periodontal disease. In the majority of cases, perioscopy is most helpful after a scaling and root planing procedure has already been conducted.

Visit an Experienced Santa Monica Periodontist

Our dental office serving Santa Monica is well qualified to provide a range of oral care services, from cosmetic dentistry and veneers to teeth whitening and non-invasive periodontal procedures. Contact us today and let’s discuss a customized approach to your dental needs.



Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a serious problem because it can progress to advanced stages with few or no visible symptoms. Without treatment by the Santa Monica laser periodontal dentist, periodontal disease can impact your oral health as well as your overall general health.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that almost 50% of adults over 30 have some level of periodontal disease. Emerging studies show a direct connection between periodontal disease and severe general health problems.

Comfortable Laser Dentistry Treats Gum Disease

When periodontal disease reaches the advanced stages of infection (periodontitis) it can begin to loosen gum tissue which can lead to deterioration of the jaw if not treated. Non-invasive laser dentistry removes infected dental material quickly and with minimal discomfort.

If you had periodontal disease in the past, your dentist might have performed gum surgery to eliminate the infection. Traditional gum surgery can be painful, and many patients put off treatment due to a negative experience with gum surgery in the past.

Fortunately, the Santa Monica laser periodontal dentist offers laser periodontal treatment, a comfortable alternative to cut-and-stitch surgery.

Periodontal treatment performed using dental lasers provides an exceptional alternative to traditional gum surgery because we do not have to cut into tender gum tissue.

Treatment with dental lasers results in minimal bleeding, requiring virtually no recovery time. You will be able to go on with your day as usual immediately following treatment.

Health Benefits of Laser Periodontal Treatment

Laser dentistry provides other benefits as well:

  • Since laser periodontal treatment does not require invasive cutting, there is minimal bleeding and no need for stitches.
  • In most cases, anesthesia and injections are unnecessary during laser treatment since there is little or no discomfort involved.
  • Laser dentistry destroys harmful bacteria and promotes healthy tissue regeneration.

Treatment for periodontal disease also helps protect your overall health. Numerous studies link the presence of chronic periodontal disease to other conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease, pregnancy complications, and diabetes.

If you suspect you have periodontal disease, please contact our office to make an appointment with our dentist. Catching gum disease early is the best way to prevent it from becoming serious and threatening your health.