For many years, patients with advanced periodontal disease had to undergo painful surgical procedures with long recovery and healing times to help restore their gums back to health. Dr. Claire Cho, dentist in Aliso Viejo, CA offers a different, gentler approach. With LANAP® laser gum surgery, patients can achieve the same healthy gums – with less pain, less discomfort, and shorter recovery times.
What is LANAP and how is it used to treat gum disease?
At its core, gum disease is an infection in your gums that feeds off of the plaque and tartar built up on your teeth. As periodontal disease progresses, it can lead to a wide array of oral health problems—such as loose teeth, gum recession, and even tooth loss—and the latest research also links it to deadly systemic problems such as heart disease and strokes. The goal of periodontal disease treatment is to remove the damaged tissues and eradicate the disease-causing bacterial to stop the underlying infection and help restore your gums back to health.
LANAP is a periodontal laser treatment that gives patients who have advanced gum disease a minimally invasive alternative to traditional gum surgery. Rather than using a scalpel to cut away the diseased tissue and reduce the depth of pockets where bacteria and plaque reside, LANAP treatment uses a laser to perform the same functions. While the approach sounds similar, there are many benefits to using lasers over scalpels:
- The laser allows Dr. Cho to be far more precise in how she cuts and treats the tissues, so less healthy tissue needs to be removed and subsequent issues such as tooth pain, sensitivity, or aesthetic issues with your gumline are reduced
- The laser disinfects as it treats, simultaneously eliminating the existing bacteria and protecting the treated tissue from post-procedure infection and inflammation
- Treatment is much more comfortable, with reduced pain both during and after treatment – in fact, pain medications are almost never necessary and you can resume your normal routine right after your treatment
- The laser stimulates healthy bone growth and regeneration to help reduce the need for future extractions and provides reliable long-term results
What to expect during the LANAP procedure
The LANAP procedure is performed right in the comfort of our familiar office and consists of several steps to ensure the best results. First, we measure the depth of the pockets, which helps Dr. Cho determine how much your gums have detached from your teeth. Then, a pulsed laser light is used to kill the bacteria that are causing the disease. It only treats the infected tissues, leaving the neighboring healthy tissues unharmed. Then, we remove any built-up calculus from beneath the gum line using an ultrasonic scaler and pass the laser over the area a second time to help form a clot, which promotes a healthy healing environment while reducing the chance of further infection. At that point, we compress the gum tissues against your teeth to help them reattach—no sutures are necessary! Finally, we will check and adjust your bite as needed to prevent too much pressure from being placed on certain areas of your mouth.