Lasers are the latest in gum disease treatment, and they've come to a Harlem dental office. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
The American Academy of Periodontology says gum disease is now more prevalent than diabetes, affecting some 65 million Americans.
Jelayne Miles knows first hand.
"I had bleeding of the gums. I had a couple of teeth were starting to get loose," Miles says.
That was six years ago. Miles was faced with an option: invasive surgery which involves cutting and opening up the gum tissue, cleaning it and sewing it back—or laser surgery.
Miles went for the laser and has no regrets.
"It was the smartest money I have ever spent in my life. Teeth that were loose—I thought that was impossible—they tightened up."
Dr. Donna Williams of Morningside Dental Care in Harlem says she encourages her patients to get the Laser Assisted New Attachment Producedure also known as LANAP.
She says it's simple, painless and the recovery is less than two weeks.
"On my hand, it's a little bit warm but that's the most that happens—but it attacks the pigmented bacteria," Williams says.
Williams says she's the only private dentist in Harlem that uses the method. She's been practicing dentistry there for more than twenty years.
"We're really trying to bring state-of-the-art technology to our communities because so often for so long we've been the last to get," Williams says.
Williams warns that the worse thing anyone can do is ignore gum disease, because it can lead to other health problems.
"We found that there's a high correlation between heart disease, diabetes, lung infection, strokes, coronary artery disease—even premature, low birth weight babies with gum disease," she says.
Dentists say the best way to prevent gum disease is to brush at least twice a day, floss and get regular check-ups.