Just as gum disease is a progressive disease, so is treatment for it. Where scaling and root planing – “deep cleaning” – or ozone therapy may be enough to resolve it in its early stages, surgical measures may be called for as it worsens.
Yet the thought of surgery – the cost, the potential pain, the downtime for healing afterwards – can keep many folks from pursuing dental care until it’s too late.
These days, however, we have an excellent non-surgical alternative to periodontal surgery: LANAP. That stands for “laser assisted new attachment procedure,” and it offers many advantages.
It can target the source of the inflammation without hurting or removing any healthy gum tissue, slow or stop attachment loss and decrease pocket depth, and allowing the body to recover from the chronic infection without the need for scalpel or sutures.
The laser we use for this procedure is a variable pulsed Nd:YAG dental laser. It emits short bursts of very high energy at a wavelength of 1064 nanometers. This wavelength passes through water and hydroxyapatite, the main mineral in tooth enamel and dentin. Because of this, it can destroy diseased tissue and bacteria without damaging nearby healthy tissue. It’s also able to penetrate 4 millimeters below the tissue surface to hit deeply rooted bacteria.
Here’s how it’s done:
The procedure is painless, and recovery is much quicker than with surgical procedures. There’s less swelling and sensitivity afterwards, and a lower risk of post-operative infections.
But perhaps the biggest advantage of LANAP is that it promotes regeneration of the periodontal structures that had been ravaged by gum disease – the gingiva (gums), ligaments, and even the supporting bone. Pocket depths are reduced dramatically.
This stands in stark contrast to the repair work done through conventional periodontal surgery.
The difference between tissue healing by repair and regeneration is profound. Regeneration is return to normal architecture and functional health; repair is not.
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The LANAP (LAR) protocol is able to generate these results without the use of biologics, exogenous growth factors, bone grafts, artificial membranes, scaffolds, or stitches. The clearance gives “institutional” regulatory validation of scientific proof for a unique healing event, long thought as unpredictable and too difficult to routinely accomplish.
By using the body’s own natural healing response in a clean, closed environment, the expectation in periodontics is now the same as in endodontics – complete regeneration. What makes this remarkable is the predictability of tissue regeneration and bone growth despite the presence of oral contaminants we have in our mouths. Teeth which otherwise might be lost to gum disease can now be saved because the bone in the jaw that holds the teeth in place has been re-grown. The ability of the PerioLase MVP-7 to create a stable fibrin gel clot to “seal” the gingival collar makes possible the closed environment needed for this type of healing.
Is it any wonder LANAP is becoming the preferred option for treating gum disease?
Image courtesy of Millennium Dental Technologies