Laser Gum Therapy – The Cutting-Edge Treatment for Gum Disease
Gum disease is one of the most common oral health problems. About half of all adults in the United States suffer from some sort of gum disease, from gingivitis to advanced periodontitis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The development of laser gum surgery aka laser dentistry has made it possible for patients to undergo minimally invasive gum disease treatment, no matter what stage of gum disease they may have.
Early signs of gum disease – gum inflammation and occasional bleeding – can be difficult for some people to recognize. The later stages of this oral health condition are quite noticeable, however, as pain sets in and teeth begin to loosen in their sockets. If not addressed promptly, these symptoms will eventually develop into irreversibly damaged bone and tissue that leads to tooth loss.
While you cannot retrieve any teeth that have fallen out, all cases of gum disease are treatable, and aesthetic deficiencies can be addressed once the periodontal disease has been eliminated. Your mouth can be healthy again thanks to LANAP® laser dentistry.
What is LANAP?
LANAP stands for “laser-assisted new attachment procedure.” This innovation is a highly effective and minimally invasive surgical therapy that is used to treat moderate to severe gum disease. The LANAP protocol (laser dentistry) is also the only laser gum disease treatment that has been cleared by the FDA for true periodontal regeneration, which means the reattachment of gum tissues and new bone growth lost to gum disease.
How does LANAP work?
A hallmark of gum disease is the pockets of bacteria and pus that form around infected teeth. When permitted to fester, this symptom is what ultimately makes the gums pull away from the teeth, leading to teeth that are loose in their sockets.
Before LANAP commences, a local anesthetic is applied to the gums. Then, a high-powered dental laser is inserted between the infected tooth and gum. The incredibly fine laser fibers target areas of disease, reduce inflammation, and clear away the infection using laser energy. The tool is also advanced, safe, and selective enough to recognize healthy tissue and leave it completely intact.
Most LANAPs can be completed in two sessions lasting for about two hours each. One side of the mouth is typically treated on the first visit. One week later, the other side of the mouth is treated. Compared to conventional gum disease treatment which involves scalpels and sutures, there is little to no downtime following the LANAP, as well as less post-op sensitivity and less gum recession.
Laser dentistry vs. conventional gum surgery
When people are aware that they are suffering from gum disease, they may drag their feet about visiting a dentist because they are either embarrassed about the condition of their oral health or fearful of the treatment that will ensue. The “No Cut, No Sew, No Fear” logo of LANAP is intended to educate patients about the modern oral health care that is available to them, even if they have concerns about gum surgery.
Compared to conventional gum disease treatment, LANAP patients typically experience:
- Less pain
- Less sensitivity
- Less bleeding
- Reduced gum loss or recession
- Less swelling
- Fewer post-op infections
- Faster healing
- More comfortable healing
Why are the typical side effects of periodontal treatment minimized with LANAP? Laser gum surgery is simply kinder to the mouth. Typical gum disease treatment involves the use of a scalpel and requires the dentist to move the gum tissue back for better visibility to ensure that the pocket of infection around the tooth is thoroughly cleaned. The depth of the pocket is reduced when the dentist cuts away infected tissue. To reattach the gum tissue to the root of the tooth, membrane grafting or bone grafting are sometimes necessary.
When a patient is eligible for laser gum surgery, treatment of periodontal disease is far simpler and, other than some mild soreness in the treated areas a few days after surgery, the pain is minimal. In some cases, splints are used to immobilize or stabilize any loose teeth and promote healing of the infected areas. Your dentist will monitor and adjust your bite as necessary throughout the healing process.
Restorative dentistry after laser gum surgery
In advanced cases of gum disease that leads to the loss of natural teeth, restorative dentistry will need to be performed after periodontal disease treatment has been completed and the mouth has healed thoroughly. Replacing missing teeth is essential to prevent your face from changing shape or your mouth from turning in on itself.
Dental implants are the most effective method of tooth restoration because the implanted dental roots stimulate the jawbone while the prosthetic recreates a natural-looking smile. This is the closest you can get to recreating the position and job of natural teeth. However, dentures and bridges are also possibilities depending on the condition of your entire oral health.
Dr. Mitul Patel is a board-certified Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and has extensive experience in performing LANAP. With this procedure, he has restored the gums of many patients throughout Johns Creek and communities north of Atlanta including Alpharetta, Duluth, and Johns Creek. If you suffer from gum disease, contact our office to schedule your consultation with Dr. Patel and find out if LANAP is right for you.