Nearly half of all adults in the United States suffer from some form of gum disease, whether gingivitis or advanced periodontitis. Dr. Diane Alvarez is our in-house periodontist, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease through deep cleanings, antibiotic therapy, patient education, and laser gum surgery, also known as LANAP Laser Dentistry.
What is LANAP?
Patients with advanced periodontal disease often stay away from the dentist even though they know something is wrong. They may be embarrassed by the condition of their teeth and gums, worry about the work that must be done to correct their problem, or believe nothing can be done to help them – but all gum disease is treatable.
Laser-assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP) is a minimally invasive surgical therapy used to address moderate to severe gum disease. This cutting-edge procedure is the only laser gum disease treatment that has been cleared by the FDA as a true method of periodontal regeneration that enables the reattachment of gum tissues and new bone growth.
How LANAP Works
Signs of early gum disease include inflammation, redness, and bleeding – all symptoms that are easily overlooked by a non-expert. As gum disease progresses, however, pain will set in from the collection of bacteria and pus around the teeth. Eventually, the gums will begin to pull away from the teeth, causing the teeth to loosen. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss.
LANAP laser dentistry is designed to target the diseased areas of the gum to reduce inflammation and clear away the infected areas. A local anesthetic is applied to the gums and the super-fine, high-powered dental laser is inserted between the infected tooth and gum. A sophisticated tool, the dental laser recognizes and avoids healthy tissue, focusing only on the areas that need healing.
Typically, LANAP laser dentistry takes a few sessions to complete treatment of the entire mouth. Each session lasts for about two hours, depending on the severity of the disease. While this treatment may sound daunting for someone who is living with tender, painful gums and loose teeth, it is gentle when compared to conventional gum disease treatment.
Comparing LANAP to Conventional Gum Surgery
Conventional periodontal treatment requires the periodontist to move gum tissue to improve visibility so they can ensure that the area has been completely cleaned. When infected tissue must be cut away, the depth of the pocket is reduced, and reattachment of gum tissues to the tooth root may require membrane or bone grafting. None of this is necessary with LANAP, which is known as the “No Cut, No Sew, No Fear” treatment. There are no scalpels or sutures needed to complete the procedure.
When compared to conventional gum surgery for gum disease, LANAP patients can expect:
- Less pain and sensitivity
- Minimal bleeding
- Reduced gum recession or gum loss
- Less swelling
- Reduced likelihood of post-op infection
- Fast, comfortable healing
In the simplest terms: If you suffer from gum disease, LANAP is the kindest, simplest, most effective treatment you can undergo to correct the problem, stop your suffering, and get your mouth ready for dental restorations and a beautiful, healthy smile.
Teeth Replacement After LANAP
If periodontal disease caused tooth loss, you will have a discussion with your dentist about the most viable dental restorations for your oral health. The mouth will need to heal thoroughly before any restorative dentistry can be undertaken, but it is essential to replace missing teeth to maintain the shape of your jaw and face.
Dental implants are the most effective, long-lasting, permanent tooth replacement solution. The implanted tooth root stimulates the jawbone where a natural tooth root should have been, and the natural-looking prosthetic tooth fills in the holes in your smile.
Every LANAP patient is different though and, depending on bone loss and bone density, as well as age, budget, and overall oral health, you may be a better candidate for restorations like dentures or dental bridges.
Remember, gum disease is treatable, and you can have a beautiful, healthy, complete smile. If you suspect that you are suffering from gum disease, or you know that you have periodontal disease, contact Premier Smile Center to schedule your appointment and find out if LANAP laser dentistry is right for you.