Gum disease plagues millions of Americans, and often treatment is limited to scaling and root planing, as well as topical and oral antibiotics. In some cases, the gums become so diseased, that they must be surgically treated by cutting away the diseased gum tissues, which can be painful and alter the appearance of the teeth and gum line. However, LANAP technology is now offering dentists an alternative to traditional gum disease treatments with a non-surgical laser that kills the bacteria causing gum disease without cutting away the soft tissues.
What is LANAP?
LANAP, or the Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure, is an FDA-approved treatment for gum disease. It works by allowing the dentist to gently pull the gum away from the tooth to reveal deep pockets that harbor bacteria and lead to decay and gum line deterioration. Once the gum is separated from the tooth, the LANAP laser is used to kill both the bacteria and the diseased tissues.
The entire procedure takes approximately four hours divided into two sessions, as opposed to the surgical alternative that can take up to eight hours to complete. There is no cutting involved, nor are there any stitches or incisions to complicate the healing process. LANAP patients also typically experience far less swelling, pain and discomfort following a gum disease treatment session than patients who undergo surgical treatments. Although soft foods are necessary for the first few days after treatment, recovery is generally nine times faster than it is with traditional gum disease surgeries.
Who Qualifies for LANAP?
LANAP is safe for most patients with periodontal disease, although a complete dental consultation is needed to determine each patient’s specific qualifications. Signs of periodontal disease may not be evident at first, but eventually include a receding gum line or bleeding while flossing or brushing the teeth. In some cases, the gums may become red or inflamed, and the loss of gum tissues surrounding the teeth may cause some teeth to become loose. Another sign of periodontal disease is perpetual bad breath that does not subside despite brushing, flossing and rinsing with a mouthwash.
Is LANAP Safe?
LANAP treatments are completely safe, so long as they are performed by a dentist trained in LANAP technology. In fact, LANAP may be an even safer option than traditional surgery for patients who suffer from diabetes, hemophilia, HIV or any other health condition in which an infection or bleeding could be potentially fatal.
Once a LANAP procedure and the following recovery period are completed, it is important to maintain good oral health and prevent recurrences of periodontal disease with good at-home hygiene and routine visits for check-ups and cleanings at the dentist’s office.
If you have any questions about LANAP and you live in Orleans or surrounding area, give us a call today!