Gum disease is one of the most common medical issues in the U.S. In fact, almost half of adults experience some form of gum disease. Despite these shocking statistics, many people remain unaware of what gum disease is, how harmful it can be, and what treatment is available.
Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure, or LANAP, is a leading form of gum disease treatment. Rinaldi Dental Arts uses LANAP to treat an advanced form of gum disease also known as periodontitis. If you want to take care of your gums, reduce the risk of developing related health problems, and access innovative treatments, read on to learn more about LANAP…
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a bacterial infection that arises when there is a build-up of plaque on your teeth. Gum disease in its earliest stages is known as gingivitis and can often be successfully resolved with appropriate treatment. A professional scale and polish will remove plaque and tartar build-up, for example, and subgingival cleaning will remove bacteria from below the gum line also.
Additionally, dentists use root planing to smooth root surfaces and discourage further plaque build-up.
However, if a patient does not receive treatment at this stage, gum disease will worsen. Advanced cases of gum disease are known in the dental community as periodontitis and, when the condition reaches this stage, there are more symptoms associated with it.
As well as causing painful, swollen gums, periodontitis puts you at increased risk of gum abscesses, degeneration of the alveolar bones, and tooth loss. Furthermore, gum disease has been associated with a number of other health conditions, so advanced periodontitis could affect your overall wellbeing too.
What is LANAP?
LANAP is a non-invasive laser gum treatment designed for patients with advanced periodontitis. The procedure involves using a dental laser to treat the periodontal pocket. This is the space in your gum in which your tooth sits. When patients have severe gum disease, there is typically a significant number of bacteria in the periodontal pocket.
Laser gum treatment works by targeting the bacteria and infected tissue that sits well beneath the gum line. By eradicating infection and removing bacteria, LANAP successfully treats periodontitis and prevents the condition from worsening.
In addition to this, LANAP stimulates your body’s healing response and prompts periodontal regeneration. This can stimulate teeth that were beginning to feel loose or wobbly due to gum disease and prevent others from becoming destabilized.
Benefits of Laser Gum Treatment
Traditionally, treatment for advanced periodontitis involved invasive dental surgery. A dentist may use pocket reduction surgery, soft tissue grafts, and bone grafts routinely to treat severe gum disease. However, many patients prefer the non-invasive alternative that LANAP offers. To understand why so many patients choose to treat advanced periodontitis with LANAP, take a look at some of the benefits it offers:
Unlike other types of dental surgery for severe gum disease, LANAP doesn’t require your dentist to make any incisions in your gum. As a result, you won’t need to have stitches or sutures following the treatment, which minimizes the risk of post-operative infections. In addition to this, many patients feel more comfortable undergoing a non-invasive procedure.
Reduced Healing Time
Typically, patients fully recover from LANAP surgery within 24 hours and many patients find they are able to resume their normal daily activities immediately. In comparison, traditional dental surgery can have a healing period of two to four weeks, during which time patients may experience swelling, discomfort, and bleeding.
Reduced Risk of Gum Recession
Receding gums is one symptom of advanced gum disease, but it can also occur following dental surgery for periodontitis. LANAP reduces the risk of gum recession as it doesn’t require cutting your gums and the tissue doesn’t shrink.
Other treatments for periodontitis tend to use foreign bodies to stimulate the regeneration process. In contrast, laser gum treatment stimulates your body’s natural healing response to regenerate tissue. This reduces the risk of infection and also eliminates the possibility of dental materials subsequently moving or becoming dislodged.
When LANAP Is Recommended
Laser gum treatment is a viable treatment option for patients with moderate or severe gum disease. If you’re not a candidate for traditional dental surgery due to taking blood-thinning medications, for example, LANAP is likely to be your preferred option. Similarly, patients who are nervous about undergoing standard dental surgery or who want to minimize their recovery time may prefer to have laser gum treatment.
When LANAP Is Not Recommended
LANAP treatment can resolve gum disease with scaling, polishing, root planing, and/or subgingival cleaning when in its infancy. These procedures can resolve gum disease so that LANAP is not necessary.
Prior to your laser gum treatment, Dr. Rinaldi will discuss the procedure with you in detail and answer any questions you may have. Additionally, Dr. Rinaldi will provide you with custom post-procedure care instructions.
In general, patients require relatively little post-procedure care after laser gum treatment. Your dentist may advise you not to undertake strenuous activities for a few hours following the treatment, but most patients feel comfortable undertaking their daily routine.
Following laser gum treatment, do not floss or brush the treated areas as advised by your dentist. However, your dentist may advise you to rinse the affected area with saltwater or antimicrobial mouthwash. Similarly, your dentist may advise you to consume soft foods or a liquid diet for two to three days following the LANAP procedure.
In some instances, patients may notice slight tenderness, swelling, or sensitivity in the treated area. This is due to the natural regeneration of tissue and typically reduces within a short amount of time.