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Saving your smile
by MATTHEW NASH
Dr. Nathan Gelder’s efforts to keep up with dental technology are paying off for more than 100 patients.
In the past two years, he’s been combating periodontal disease, or chronic bacterial infections, with a new Periolase dental laser using the Laser-assisted New Attachment Procedure.
Previously, people facing gum disease had to receive deep teeth cleanings and/or scaling and root cleanings, which Gelder said weren’t the best treatments.
“It was a good treatment to slow it down, but over time the gums unzip from the tooth and the bone comes with it,” he said.
In more severe cases, a periodontist would cut off diseased gum portions, leaving the mouth extra-sensitive, Gelder said.
His new machine removes diseased parts with a laser and basically glues healthy tissue back to the root without any cutting. The lost bone and connective tissue can regrow.
“It’s reversing the disease and putting people back to where they were 10 or 20 years ago,” Gelder said. “There’s little to no pain after the procedure compared to scalpel surgery and virtually everyone responds really well.”
Gelder’s office in Sequim Family Dentistry is the first on the peninsula to have a laser machine like this, he said.
“In this community, it’s something we deal with a lot,” Gelder said. “We just didn’t have great treatment methods.”
Gelder said about 80 percent of people age 65 and older have gum disease stemming from genetics, diabetes, smoking or lack of care.
“By far the most common reason for tooth loss is gum disease for those 40 and older, too,” he said.
Some of his patients are telling him that after the procedure their gums feel the best they in years and those with diabetes are seeing better blood-sugar levels.
Periodontal disease is linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Warnings signs of periodontal disease are loose teeth and bleeding gums.
“We’re seeing some really phenomenal results,” Gelder said.
The procedure can take from one to four hours in one or two visits with a free initial consultation on the procedure available.
Procedure costs vary from $300 for a small area to $3,000 for the whole mouth. Insurance covers it similarly to periodontal disease, Gelder said.