Laser Periodontal Therapy Program (LANAP)
Unique laser technology designed to repair and heal gum disease faster and with less pain and swelling.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease begins when a film called plaque accumulates on the teeth. Certain strains of bacteria that live in this plaque damage gum tissue and bone. Your body tries to fight this infection with an inflammatory assault, sending white blood cells to the area to destroy the bacteria. This inflammation causes the tissue to bleed easily when you brush or floss. This stage of the condition is called gingivitis.
If the infection and inflammation persist, what results is a chronic inflammatory condition in which the gums and bone around the teeth are slowly destroyed, many times with no awareness or symptoms. At this stage, it is called periodontitis, or gum disease.
The biggest risk factors are ineffective home care, smoking, and diabetes. Periodontitis has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease, high blood sugar, and other serious medical conditions. In short, healthy gums are the gateway to a healthier body.
Options and Alternatives
Gingivitis can be reversed with regular professional cleanings, and excellent home care including daily flossing! It is also important to eat healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables. These types of foods have important anti-oxidants and phytonutrients your body needs to remain healthy.
Once your condition has progressed to periodontitis, surgical intervention is usually necessary to eliminate the deep pockets which develop between the teeth and gums. If these pockets persist, they become "privileged sites" for bacteria to organize even more colonies, causing more bone loss. The longer this condition is left untreated, the more difficult it becomes to treat successfully, and often teeth will appear "longer" due to exposed roots, and involved teeth are more likely to be loose and prone to infection and/or abscesses
Traditional gum surgery involves cutting away some of the gum tissue, and reshaping the bone underneath. Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure, also called LANAP, is a progressive technique using a specialized laser to destroy the bacteria which cause disease, and alter the tissue so that it has the opportunity to heal. The use of the laser is less invasive than traditional scalpel surgery, and results in a much faster and less painful recovery.
How it works
A. Depth of pocket is measured under anesthesia
B. Laser selectively removes diseased pocket lining
C. Ultrasonic instruments clean root surfaces
D. Laser disinfects pocket and seals the wound
E. Tissue is compressed against the tooth
F. Bite is adjusted through selective grinding
G. Healing results in new attachment
Your Surgical Visits
Usually, we treat one half of the mouth at a time. The surgical visits are ideally made one to two weeks apart, and take about two hours each on average. The mouth is numbed, just like if you were having a filling or crown done. Sedation is available if you prefer. The pockets are then measured while you are numb, so that more accurate measurements can be made without causing discomfort.
A first pass is made with the laser, giving the doctor access to the depth of the pockets and allowing better visualization of the roots of the teeth. Then the teeth are cleaned very thoroughly using ultrasonic instruments, which have tips that vibrate very quickly, loosening up any deposits on the teeth and flushing them away with an irrigating solution.
A second pass is made with the laser, disinfecting the pockets and sealing them up through the formation of a stable blood clot. The bite is then adjusted to minimize destructive, uneven clenching forces on the teeth.
The First Few Days
Most people experience some mild soreness of the treated areas for the first few days. The tissue will appear discolored around the teeth, similar to what a scab looks like when you get it wet. It is crucial not to brush or pick this away, as this fibrin barrier is what allows the gums underneath to get a head start creating a new attachment to the teeth.
It is very important to follow the liquid/soft food diet recommendations during this time to ensure a stable environment for the initial healing of your tissues.
Your bite will feel different, as if the teeth don't touch together as heavily on the treated side. This can feel imbalanced at first, but the teeth will quickly adapt. After both sides have been treated, and as further refinements are made, your bite should feel stronger and more stable than ever, and more comfortable.
Continuing Follow-Up Care
As the gums heal, the teeth will shift, and your bite will need to be adjusted several times over the first few weeks, even for the first year and beyond. Although it seems counter-intuitive, inadequate adjustment is what is usually responsible for soreness or sensitivity following LANAP. Three to six weeks after your surgery, impressions will be made of your teeth, and splints will be fabricated to stabilize and immobilize the teeth while you sleep. It
is important to wear these splints, as we humans have a tendency to periodically clench our teeth and jaws during sleep. This clenching can produce extremely damaging forces which can delay or prevent healing.
Professional cleaning is recommended every three months for the first year, and re-evaluation of your condition will be done at the twelve month visit. Most people with gum disease remain at risk for the rest of their lives, and would benefit from having their teeth cleaned every three months indefinitely.
How much does it cost?
The cost of your treatment will depend upon the severity and complexity of your condition. At your initial consultation, we can identify these factors, and give you an estimate of what your costs would be and how much insurance may cover. The cost is often comparable to other types of surgeries used to treat gum disease.
Should you decide LANAP is right for you, we will work with you to create a financial arrangement that is appropriate for your circumstances.