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Dentistry/laser surgery on deep pockets in molars


Dear Sir:  My dentist referred me to a specialist who, according to him, has had great success using laser surgery to stimulate bone growth.  I had a gingevectomy on 3 molars about 6 years ago because the gum was supposedly grown up too high around them.  After the surgery, I developed pockets measuring 4 to 7.  They had been 2 to 5 prior to surgery.  Now my dentist (in a new city) tells me he is concerned I will lose one of the molars eventually because of bone degeneration and sent me to the specialist.

The specialist did a deep scaling, waited 4 weeks, re-measured and saw some improvement, but the 7's remained.  He wants to do laser surgery (no bone graft planned) on that molar, plus three others (both upper and lower back molars on each side) in which he will pull the gum back, use a laser to completely obliterate the offending tissue, seal the gum back to the teeth, etc.  After one week he will fit me with a specially molded form to hold my teeth in place while healing continues.  I will wear this for 1 year.  He will check my progress every 3 months.

Will this procedure actually help?  I have had to sign extensive forms stating it may not be successful, may cause the need for root canals and further dental procedures.  My teeth, according to my regular dentist, are in excellent condition for a woman my age (72) and none are loose at this time.  I am weighing the pros and cons of having this work done with all its discomfort and cost, against the loss of one molar in the future.  At this point I am leaning toward waiting.

Thank you so much for any advice you can offer.

Dear Janene,

No surgical procedures in dentistry are guaranteed to be successful.  It's been documented that both traditional and laser gum surgeries both work, if surgical protocols are followed correctly.  I would seek a 2nd opinion if that will make you comfortable;



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John Kong, DDS,


I am a board-certified periodontist and an expert on dental implants. I am currently in private practice at Better Living through Dentistry. I can answer questions related to the treatment of periodontitis (gum disease), dental implants, sinus lifts, bone grafts and gum grafts.


My practice focuses in the field of periodontics and dental implants. I enjoy working with dental specialists to coordinate full mouth reconstructions and cosmetic dentistry.

American Academy of Periodontology, American Board of Periodontics, American Dental Association, New York State Dental Association, Queens County Dental Association

BA - Wesleyan University, DDS - SUNY Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine, Certificate in Periodontics - University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

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