Lanap laser surgery is a promising procedure for periodontal disease or periodontitis. This is an effective treatment that can quickly eliminate the offending pathogen and stimulate the regeneration of the gum tissues. Periodontists and the dental community consider this a new breakthrough in the treatment of gum disease
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease encompasses two conditions – gingivitis and periodontitis. In both conditions, your gum line becomes inflamed due to bacterial infection. Most adults in the United States suffer from some form of gum disease. If you suffer from gum disease, you will start by noticing that you bleed while brushing or flossing or you will notice bad breath. There are different forms of gum disease depending on the severity.
Forms of Gum Disease
The mildest form of gum disease is gingivitis. It will cause your gums to become red, swollen and bleed easily. This stage of the disease is characterized by little discomfort and may actually pass without you even knowing something is wrong with your gums. If gingivitis is not treated, it will progress to a moderately severe form known as periodontitis.
Periodontitis occurs when the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. The offending bacteria produce toxins that irritate your gums and stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which your body activates, and the bone and soft tissues that support your teeth are broken down and destroyed.
Your gum then separates from the teeth leaving small spaces between the teeth and gum (called pockets) that become infected. With disease progression, the pockets become deeper and the destruction of the gum tissue and bone extends. Although the destruction may be massive, the condition only produces mild symptoms. Eventually, your teeth become very loose and may have to be pulled out or fall out.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
A few may produce toxins that trigger inflammatory response leading to the disease. Removing the plaque through regular brushing and flossing can get rid of the bacteria and prevent you from developing gum disease. While the primary cause of periodontal disease is bacteria, there are many predisposing factors. Examples include smoking, hormonal changes, illnesses, family history of periodontitis and certain medications that lessen the flow of saliva given the protective effect of this secretion on teeth and gums.
Periodontal Disease Prevention
Prevention is better than cure. This phrase is extremely relevant when it comes to gum disease. The first and most important preventive measures are proper brushing and flossing. Experts advise that you use an antibacterial toothpaste or mouth rinse that can kill the bacteria and minimize the plaque in your mouth. You need to brush at least twice daily and floss regularly to keep plaque at bay.
Gum Disease Treatment
The only way to get rid of severe and stubborn plaque is to have a professional cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist. In case of severe disease, the dentist will recommend much more advanced periodontal disease treatments. The advanced treatments include scaling and root planing performed to treat the diseased gum pockets and gum infection. The scaling removes the plaque, tartar, and debris above and below your gum line.
For a long time, a huge number of Americans who suffered from advanced periodontitis chose never to go for treatment for the fear of the invasive surgery. This is no longer the case. A better, safer and more advanced periodontal disease treatment is Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP).
What is Lanap?
Lanap is a surgical therapy developed for the treatment of advanced cases of periodontitis. Unlike the dental surgical procedures you know, Lanap works by stimulating the regeneration (or regrowth) rather than resection. Resection is the surgical removal of all or just part of a tissue, organ or structure. Regeneration, on the other hand, is the process leading to renewal, restoration and regrowth of gum cells, tissues, and bone structures that were destroyed by periodontitis.
The procedure uses a special pulsed Nd:YAG laser. The laser consists of neodymium (Nd) atoms that are distributed in yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) crystal hence the designation Nd:YAG. The Nd is exited with a little jolt of electricity causing it to emit a burst of infrared light of 1064 nanometers wavelength (color). A super small fiber optic (about the width of 3 human hairs) delivers the infrared laser light precisely to the affected tissues.
This wavelength of light is transmitted through your normal cell in a manner similar to the way sunlight is transmitted through window panes. However, it seeks out the toxin-producing and dark pigmented bacteria known to be the culprits of periodontitis. In essence, the pulsing laser “vaporizes” the offending bacteria and preserves the normal gum cells.
You might be wondering how simple light can kill bacteria. Well, the mechanism of the laser is rather basic. The laser action involves the transferring of laser light energy into heat energy within the bacteria or the diseased gum cells of the target gum tissues. The pulsing of the laser energy works to minimize any chances of collateral damage resulting from the spread of excessive heat energy.
How does Lanap compare with traditional gum treatments?
Laser gum surgery offers many benefits over the traditional gum treatments including the invasive surgical procedures. The procedure is minimally-invasive and therefore relatively pain-free with very little postoperative discomfort. This means you do not need any recovery time. The other benefits you can reap from LANAP compared to other periodontitis treatments include:
- Very little bleeding, if any
- Superfast healing and short recovery time with impressive results
- Less invasive therefore minimal removal of healthy gum tissue
- A safer alternative for patients with health conditions and those on certain medications
- The surgical procedure only takes a short time – 2 hours to be exact
Leaving periodontal disease untreated can lead to serious problems including the loss of a tooth or teeth and systemic spread of the bacteria leading to other diseases or health problems. The procedure needs a lot of skill and precision. Therefore, periodontists or dentists looking to perform the procedure must go through thorough LANAP training. The Lanap Training Continuum requires yearlong, comprehensive, live-patient, hands-on training. This intense training is necessary to ensure that the dentist is competent enough to provide safe and effective laser treatment. If you want to learn more come into our office near Allen, Tx today for a free consultation and 3D scan.