Dr. Rana Al-Falaki is the principal expert on Laser Periodontology. Her vast experience has positioned her to be the “go-to” person in this field of dental gum disease treatment. Dr. Al-Falaki has been able to produce some incredible results on teeth that otherwise would have deteriorated or even have to be pulled out. She has taken tooth preservation to another level.
Dr. Rana Al-Falaki has now trained and taught thousands of clinicians both in the UK and internationally, on the various techniques involving a myriad of different lasers. She is also founder of numerous techniques that predominantly revolve around conservation of the bone and gum surrounding each tooth.
Laser Periodontal Treatment when compared to Traditional Gum Treatments:
- Most minimally invasive approach to gum treatment. The use of lasers allows for less intrusion and although this is a surgical technique it almost doesn’t feel like it to the patient.
- The technique produces less trauma.
- Improved healing after treatment and thus less swelling, pain, sensitivity and soreness in the treated area.
- Some patients avoid treatment of their gums due to the concept of a surgical procedure perhaps being too painful. However, since lasers are less traumatic and less intrusive the treatment becomes more comfortable.
- Increases the speed of post foundational treatment. This means that the patients is able to have a fully functional mouth sooner rather than later.
- Less postoperative complications. This means that the treatment is more likely to be successful and have the increased longevity associated.
- Less gum recession post-treatment. This is important since the resulting area will have better aesthetics. This cannot be said of traditional periodontal surgery where unpredictable gum recession is often a major downside.
- Promotes bone regeneration. Traditional gum surgery focuses on elimination of infection. However, laser periodontal surgery not only eliminates infection but also encourages bone to re-form in the given area. This is particularly useful when dealing with more advanced gum disease where there are deeper gum pockets of infection.
Journey of Dr. Rana Al-Falaki
I was the first Periodontal Specialist to be using the Waterlase MD laser machine in the UK. Like most specialists, we like to look at the clinical research before embarking on new treatments, and I would be the first to admit that the research for the use of lasers in periodontics was poor. A lot of it suggested that lasers had no added benefit to conventional treatments. BUT as I soon discovered, not all lasers are the same! And little had been studied well on the Waterlase laser wavelength. The fact that so many periodontists in the USA were using this type of laser for periodontal treatment made me think there had to be some benefit to it, so I took a leap of faith a few years ago, and have never looked back!
We are the UK’s leading laser periodontitists. Rana Al-Falaki is the UK trainer for the use of lasers in Periodontics, and is the founder of the Global Periodontal Laser User Society www.globalperiolaser.org . She is constantly carrying out clinical research to help continue to improve the quality of care that we can provide, and lectures widely on the subject.
- Sucessfully treat deeper pockets through non –surgical therapy – typically, deep pockets of 7+mm may need surgical management to eliminate them successfully. We have reliably managed to treat 9+ mm pockets non-surgically using the Waterlase, and the results have been stable long term.
- Less sensitivity – Our findings have been that patients in the main still tend to experience some sensitivity after treatment, which may be to cold, hot or sweet in most cases. However, unlike following conventional treatment, we have noticed that for most patients, the sensitivity seems to settle down faster after treatment. Of course, every patient differs and sensitivity can have multiple causes.
- Less Pain and discomfort – following treatment with the laser, most of our patients have fewer symptoms of pain and discomfort than when we used to carry out just conventional therapy.
- Easier surgical management – we use the laser for surgical management of periodontal pockets also. In all the cases we have used it, we have found that patients have experienced far fewer side effects than following conventional surgery, with very little post-operative pain, very little need for painkillers, and far less swelling (if any) or sensitivity. Healing is faster, more straightforward and much less need for antibiotics.
- Regeneration – we have found that in about 85% of cases, when treating infra-bony defects with the laser non-surgically, that we have been able to eliminate the deep pockets instead of needing to carry out regenerative / bone grafting surgery, and we have been finding that bone has been spontaneously regenerating! This has piqued the interests of the teaching hospitals and we are working with The University of London (Guys Hospital) on clinical trials to build up the clinical evidence supporting this type of treatment.
- Firmer teeth – by being able to eliminate deep pockets and bone re-forming, teeth firm up considerably, lending themselves to improved function.
- Pockets around implants – the Waterlase is not a heat laser, so is effective to use around implants to treat cases of failing implants through peri-implant mucositis or peri-implantitis
- Flapless surgery for crown-lengthening – we are able to use this laser to remove bone without needing to raise flaps, thereby resulting in better faster healing, a more stable gingival margin with less recession, and no risk of scarring.
- Frenectomies – these can be carried out without the need for stitches afterwards, there is little post-operative pain and the fraenum doesn’t grow back. We don’t need to use much local anaesthetic either, so the procedure is much less traumatic for children than traditional methods
- Permanent desensitisation – the Waterlase can successfully and permanently eradicate sensitive teeth (depending on the original cause, and this is often multi-factorial).
- Other types of surgery – we can use lasers to easily and atruamtically carry out many other surgical procedures, including biopsies, removal of excess gum tissue (hyperplasia) or other ‘lumps’, sulcus deepening, ridge augmentation, reverse vestibuloplasty (to lower the lip line in gummy smiles), gum grafting procedures, manage tongue ties – the list goes on! All surgical procedures using lasers lead to much less post-operative pain, swelling ,bruising and bleeding.
- Low level laser therapy – all procedures can be treated afterwards with low level laser therapy which helps to accelerate healing, reduce sensitivity, relive pain and discomfort, relieve jaw pain, and reduce bruising and swelling.
So all in all – it mounts up to successful treatment of gum-disease and other gum conditions, with less need to carry out periodontal surgery or bone grafting.
Next: Laser Bone Regeneration