LANAP: Magic Light
Gum disease is inflammation of the gum tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. Left untreated, the disease can lead to Receding gums, loss of supporting bone, and ultimately tooth loss. Gum disease is caused by many factors. How well the teeth and gums are cleaned daily, environmental factors such as diet, etc., and genetic factors. Once there is bone loss, it is very difficult or impossible to regrow the bone back to it’s original level. Because of this, treatment centers around doing the next best thing: to maintain the bone at its current level by keeping the area clean. This is done by regular 3-month periodontal recall cleanings, deep cleanings, and gum surgery.
Gum surgery involves the cutting of the gums, smoothing the bone, and stitching the gums back lower on the tooth reducing pocket depth (measured between the top of the gums and the bone), so that the area may be more easily cleaned. As you can imagine, this procedure can be painful, and will often result in triangle spaces between the teeth, which will more easily trap food and can be cosmetically unattractive.
Is there an alternative? A relatively new way to treat gum disease is by using a NdYAG laser at specific high energy pulses in such a way as to destroy bacteria imbedded in tissue without harming healthy tissue: LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Protocol). Not only does this technology destroy pathogens, but there is ample scientific evidence that there is biostimulation to profoundly improve healing, regrow the attachment of the structures that attach bone to teeth, and regrow bone, all with no cutting, stitching, with little or no pain. The amount of tissue regrowth will depend upon many factors.
Don’t be fooled. Not all lasers are the same. There is currently only one laser and protocol that is FDA approved to regrow tooth attachment, and the company that had pioneered the technique, protected it with a patent.
Other uses of this technique include treating bone loss around implants LAPIP (Laser Assisted Peri Implantitis Protocol), reducing bacteria prior to implant placement, biostimulating the area to improve healing with both implants, and at time of teeth extraction and other surgical sites, reducing pain of injection sites, treatment of TMJ (Tempro Mandibular Joint) pain and many other uses*.
What to expect: Because bacteria are found throughout the mouth, LANAP periodontal surgery is a full-mouth procedure usually completed in two 2-hour visits. We complete one side of the mouth during the first visit, and complete the other side on the second visit. Surgeries are usually scheduled within one week of one another. It is common to quickly return to work or other activities.
The first few days you may or may not experience mild aching and soreness around the treated areas. The tissue around the teeth will appear discolored. This is the fibrin “seal” and you should not brush this off, and should not brush or floss for 7-10 days after treatment.
As the gums heal, your bite will shift, and your bite will need to be adjusted several times over the coming months. It is crucial that the teeth not be mobile so splinting of the teeth or “night guard” splints may need to be fabricated to stabilize and immobilize the teeth. Expect to have your teeth cleaned at least every 3 months for the first year before being reevaluated.
*Not all treatment protocols are FDA approved and may be considered “off label”.