Periodontitis begins as a plaque, an opaque film that constantly forms in the mouth. The plaque eventually hardens and forms tartar or tartar. These tartar deposits harbor bacteria that infect the gums. In the early stages, this is called gingivitis, which is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush your teeth. Many people also experience bad breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Essentially the difference is that LANAP laser gum therapy promotes regeneration to reduce the depth of periodontal pockets, whereas traditional gum surgery amputates the gums to achieve healthy periodontal pocket depth.
Without treatment, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, a much more serious form of gum disease in which periodontal pockets form, separating the teeth from the gums and supporting bone structure. Without treatment, the infection becomes severe and the pockets deepen, eventually resulting in tooth loss.
To repair the damage caused by gum disease, you must remove the infection and close the periodontal pockets. Until now, this meant operations and points. But today, PERIODONTAL THERAPY WITH LASER OR LANAP, a minimally invasive and easy-to-use procedure for the patient, is a significant improvement over traditional gum surgery.
If you are a candidate (have gum disease) for initial treatment will include local anesthesia to eliminate any discomfort. General anesthesia is not necessary as PERIODONTAL THERAPY WITH LASER OR LANAP is much less traumatic. The procedure is quick, it only takes two sessions of 2 hours. Half of the mouth is treated at a time … most patients feel good enough to go back to work later.
Periodontitis is common, but unfortunately it is widely underdiagnosed (another issue). More than 100 million people in the US are estimated to have some form of periodontal disease. When it comes to treating gum disease, there are essentially two options: traditional gum surgery or LANAP laser gum therapy. My goal is to compare LANAP to traditional gum surgery so that people can make an informed decision about treatment options.
Dental lasers are a groundbreaking technological advance that has revolutionized standard treatments for everything from gum disease to tumor removal. High-efficiency LED lights provide safe and effective methods to remove unwanted tissues while cleaning and disinfecting them to prevent infection. Laser dentistry offers the advantage of faster healing times with fewer complications compared to more traditional methods. It can even be used to enhance your smile with whitening methods that far exceed over-the-counter whiteners.
During surgery, highly sophisticated lasers are used to cut and cauterize tissue. Laser dentistry is especially helpful in treating advanced cases of gum disease, as it can remove plaque and restore the gum line with a high degree of precision. There are often fewer scars than with traditional scalpels.
The treatment usually lasts about 45 minutes. The results are more dramatic and last longer than over-the-counter whitening creams and strips. Treatment is especially helpful for patients who have discoloration from smoking, drinking coffee or red wine, or who have hyperpigmentation due to excess fluoride (fluorosis).
Comparison of procedures
Traditional gum surgery uses a scalpel to “beat” the gums back to expose the roots of the teeth and jaw. This allows the dentist to remove all the tartar from the roots and see the bone that supports the teeth.For example, if you had a 6mm pocket reading, then you would have to remove 3mm of gum to create a 3mm pocket.
With LANAP laser gum therapy, there are no scalpels or sutures. The LANAP laser then selectively removes the scar tissue along the gums in the pocket and also kills bacteria. This creates an environment in which your own body can heal and actually regenerate the attachment of the gums to the tooth.
It is typical for a LANAP patient to have downtime in the range of 24 to 48 hours. Compared to 2-4 weeks in traditional surgery.
Differences in treatment results
While both traditional and LANAP gum treatments provide healthier gums, there are some important differences. Aesthetically, teeth look longer the more exposed the teeth are. Exposing the roots of the teeth often creates teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Also, tooth roots are not as strong as tooth enamel. Exposing the roots increases the possibility of cavities on these root surfaces.
LANAP laser gum therapy does not remove the gum tissue, it promotes the regeneration of the gums to the tooth. At LANAP we see very little gum recession. This means that the roots are not exposed, minimizing the risks of sensitivity and cavities and preserving aesthetics since we see very little gingival retraction with LANAP.
Time and cost differences
The time frame for LANAP consists of 2 two-hour appointments scheduled one week apart. Traditional gum surgery usually takes longer, with a longer period of time between surgeries. The costs are usually roughly the same for each procedure.