Laser Dentistry Offers a Gentle Alternative to Painful Periodontal Procedures

Anyone who has ever had a traditional treatment for periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) will quickly report that the entire process was relatively painful as it included sharp instruments, scraping, cutting and stitching in order to clear the infection and bacteria from the infected area. The good news is that there is now a gentle alternative that is practically pain-free and even more effective than traditional methods.

By using Laser Periodontal Treatment or specifically a procedure called LANAP™ (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure) gum infection is cleared, bacteria is removed and healthy tissue is left intact with little or no discomfort to the patient. Because a laser fiber that is about the size of three hairs put together is inserted between the tooth and gums to access the infected area, it is not necessary to cut into the gum tissue with sharp instruments or to do any scraping to clean the area or stitching to pull the gum tissue together so that it can heal.

Approved by the FDA, LANAP™ gets optimal results with little or no discomfort to the patient. The benefits for the patient when LANAP™ is used to treat gum disease are many:

• No cutting or suturing is required with the procedure.
• The time spent in the dentist’s chair is greatly reduced.
• Very little discomfort is experienced by the patient.
• Recovery time is 24 hours versus days or even weeks for typical gum surgery.
• Laser surgery produces longer-lasting results—98% of patients show healthy gums up to five years after the procedure was performed.
• Laser surgery creates reconnection of gum tissue to both the jawbone and the teeth.

The LANAP™ procedure begins with x-rays that allow a dentist to assess the extent of the infection and any damage that has already occurred. On the day of the procedure, a local anesthetic is used to eliminate even minimal discomfort. Once the area is numb from the local anesthetic, the tiny laser is inserted between the gum tissue and the tooth where it removes the diseased tissue and destroys the bacteria that are causing the infection without negatively impacting the healthy tissue.

Once the infection is cleared away, the dentist then uses the laser to “disturb” the healthy tissue just enough to cause re-growth which will result in the tissue eventually reattaching to the jawbone. The final step of the process is when the dentist creates a seal around the teeth where they meet the gum tissue to prevent the gums from becoming re-infected. The whole process is so gentle to the gum tissue that most patients are able to eat normal foods after only 24 hours of recovery time.

The process takes a total of two 2-hour sessions in which the dentist treats one half of the patient’s mouth first and then finishes the second half during the last session. Because the process is non-invasive and the procedure creates very little discomfort, most patients are able to return to work right after their appointment. The entire process requires only two follow-up visits and most patients experience long-term positive results.