It can be a difficult decision for people who have diagnosed with gum or periodontal disease. Firstly, patients are often surprised at their diagnosis. Periodontal disease is a very common, yet, sadly, is widely underdiagnosed (another topic altogether). It is estimated that over 100 million people in the U.S. have some form of periodontal disease. When it comes to treating gum disease there are essentially two options – traditional gum surgery or LANAP laser gum therapy. Unfortunately, LANAP laser gum therapy option is often not presented to patient because of lack of knowledge of the LANAP procedure. My goal is to compare LANAP with traditional gum surgery so people can make an informed decision of the treatment choices.
Comparison of Procedures
With traditional gum surgery, a scalpel is used to “flap” the gums back in order to expose the roots of the teeth and the jawbone. This allows the dentist to clean all the tartar from the roots and view the bone that supports the teeth. If there are any bony defects, the bone is reshaped or bone graft material is placed. The gums are then sutured back in place. The gums may also be excised (cut) in order to achieve a periodontal pocket that is 3mm deep to allow the patient to clean effectively. For example, if you had a 6mm pocket reading, then 3mm of gum tissue would have to be removed to create a 3mm pocket.
In LANAP laser gum therapy, there are no scalpels or sutures. The gums are not “flapped” back of the teeth and the bone. Instead, the laser fiber is placed between the teeth and gums into the periodontal pocket. The LANAP laser then selectively ablates (removes) the scar tissue lining the gums in the pocket and kills the bacteria as well. The roots are then cleaned using an ultrasonic devise. Then the LANAP laser is used again to seal around the cuff of the tooth. This creates an environment that allows your own body to heal and actually regenerate the attachment of the gum to the tooth.
Essentially, the difference is LANAP laser gum therapy promotes regeneration to reduce the periodontal pocket depths while Traditional gum surgery amputates the gums to attain a healthy periodontal pocket depth.
Post Operative Differences
Since LANAP laser gum therapy is less invasive than traditional gum surgery the downtime is dramatically reduced. It is typical for a LANAP patient to have downtime in the 24 -48 hr range. Compared to 2-4 weeks with traditional surgery. With LANAP there is less pain and less chance of infection.
Treatment Outcome Differences
While both LANAP and Traditional gum treatments will produce healthier gums, there are some major differences. Since Traditional surgery removes gum tissue to produce shallower periodontal pockets, this exposes the roots of the teeth to the oral environment. Aesthetically, the teeth look longer as more of the teeth are exposed. By exposing the roots of the teeth, this often produces teeth that are sensitive to cold and hot temperatures. Also, the roots of the teeth are not as strong as the enamel of teeth. By exposing the roots it increases the risk of getting cavities on these root surfaces.
LANAP laser gum therapy does not remove gum tissue, it promotes regeneration of the gums attachment to the tooth. With LANAP we see very little gum recession. This means the roots do not get exposed, so the sensitivity and cavity risks are minimized, and aesthetics are maintained because we see very little gum recession with LANAP.
Time and Cost Differences
The time frame for LANAP consists of 2 two hour appointments scheduled one week apart. Traditional gum surgery usually take longer, with a longer time frame between surgeries. The cost is for each procedure is typically about the same.
If you would like to read more on LANAP laser gum therapy please click on the following link http://www.drjamesmiller.com/lanap.html.