Periodontitis, also known as periodontal disease or simply gum disease, is a serious long-term condition that affects roughly 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older. Periodontal disease increases with age, with around 70.1% of adults 65 years and older having some form of periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that hold your teeth in place. It can start as minor symptoms such as bad breath or swollen gums, but can eventually cause pain when chewing, sensitive teeth, or even tooth loss. Long-term periodontal disease can cause gums to recede which makes your teeth appear longer. It’s often caused by poor brushing and flossing habits which allow bacteria to build upon the teeth and gums.
In the past, periodontal surgery was the most effective way of dealing with periodontal surgery in its later stages. This involved cutting the patient’s gums with a sharp tool, cleaning the teeth at its roots, and then sewing the gums back up. While effective, this resulted in a long recovery time and was daunting for all patients. Thankfully, there are non-surgical treatments such as LANAP that can offer patients a safe and effective option to combat periodontitis.
What Is LANAP?
LANAP, also known as laser-assisted new attachment procedure, is an alternative treatment that uses a laser instead of cutting into the gums. This makes it extremely effective at targeting infected gum tissue in specific areas without causing damage to healthy tissue. It also means there is less recovery time and no visible damage to your gums outside of the infected areas.
Is LANAP an Invasive Treatment?
No. LANAP is technically a form of non-surgical gum disease treatment which leads people to believe that it is invasive. However, since it doesn’t require any cutting or sutures, patients have a much shorter recovery time and there is less damage to the surrounding healthy gum tissue. Technically speaking, LANAP is a surgical procedure that is minimally invasive. The advantage of a minimally-invasive treatment is that there is little discomfort and bleeding once the treatment is finished. Patients can even return to their daily activities once the procedure is over and they’ve left the office.
What Are the Benefits of LANAP Over Traditional Surgery?
LANAP has a number of benefits over traditional periodontal surgery such as:
- No healthy tissue is damaged during LANAP. Only the infected gum tissue is targeted, meaning your gums don’t recede as a result of the procedure.
- LANAP can regenerate bone and help reverse the negative effects of periodontitis. This is something that traditional periodontal surgery cannot offer.
- Patients that are not suitable for periodontal surgery may choose LANAP as a safer alternative that is minimally-invasive and allows them to return to their daily schedule.
- There is less pain and discomfort involved with non-surgical gum disease treatments than traditional periodontal surgery.
What’s Involved In LANAP?
Before any treatment begins, your specialist will begin with an x-ray of your mouth to see the extent of the infection. This will determine if LANAP is an effective non-surgical gum disease treatment option for you. If the specialist deems LANAP to be a suitable option, you’ll move on to the procedure itself at a later date.
LANAP starts with a local anesthetic to help with sensitivity and pain in the treatment. Patients don’t need to be put to sleep during this non-surgical gum disease treatment. Next, the periodontist will probe areas of the gums and make the first pass with the laser. This destroys surface bacteria and pathogens which disinfects the gums. The initial pass allows the inflamed, infected, and diseased areas of your gums to be carefully removed while your healthy gum tissue is left untouched.
The second pass ensures that the pockets are carefully sealed and closed. After this pass, the procedure is complete. Your periodontist will give you instructions on how to care for your teeth and gums to prevent the bacteria from returning and spreading.
You’ll be required to make routine check-ups to ensure that your gums are healing properly after the procedure.
Is There a Recovery Period for LANAP?
Patients that undergo LANAP can expect to return to their daily activities as soon as they leave the office. There is little pain or discomfort following the procedure. However, if you have severely infected gums, then you may be asked to rest for at least 24 hours to allow your gums time to heal. In comparison to traditional periodontal surgery, this cuts the recovery period down from two to four weeks to a mere day.
How Long Do Results from LANAP Last?
LANAP targets and destroys infected tissue in your gums. This means that it removes the bacteria completely, resulting in clean and healthy gums. These results should last forever, but it depends on how well you take care of your teeth post-treatment.
LANAP gives you another chance to take better care of your teeth and gums. After the procedure, you’ll want to keep an eye on your oral hygiene by brushing and flossing on a regular basis to prevent further building up bacteria. By following the advice from your periodontist, you’ll build better habits to keep your teeth and gums in great condition.
Who Is a Good Candidate for LANAP?
LANAP candidates don’t need to meet a strict set of requirements to be eligible. As a safe non-surgical gum disease treatment, it can even be considered for those that would not be eligible for traditional periodontal surgery. This includes patients with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, pregnant patients, and anyone else that may not be suitable for a surgical option.
If you’re struggling with periodontitis and are experiencing large pockets between your gums, then you may be a good candidate for LANAP. Schedule an appointment with Arizona Periodontal Group today and we’d be happy to have a consultation.