Periodontal disease begins when bacteria and tartar beneath the gum line infect and inflame the tissues that support teeth. The early stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis and can usually be reversed with daily brushing, flossing, and regular cleaning by a dental professional. If left untreated, however, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, a condition in which gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. Advanced periodontitis is marked by deepening pockets often filled with pus, and accompanied by swollen gums around the base of the teeth. This condition can lead to bone loss in the jaw and a weakening of the ligaments that hold teeth in place. If tooth loosening occurs as a result, it is likely that tooth extraction will be necessary to prevent the disease from spreading. Because serious gum disease will not resolve without intervention, gum surgery may be required for treatment.

The benefits of LANAP® laser gum surgery

Laser treatment for gum disease is the newest and most advanced method available to combat periodontitis. The FDA approved Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP®) in 2004. Since then, its popularity has steadily increased as studies continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of LANAP®, and the minimal side effects and low risk of complications associated with the procedure.

LANAP® is a less invasive procedure for treating gum disease than traditional gum surgery. The LANAP® procedure uses laser technology to gently remove diseased tissue and harmful bacteria from the gums while maintaining the height of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth. Through variations of the laser’s energy density, pulse duration and rate of repetition, surgeons are able to remove diseased tissue and bacteria without harming healthy tissue. After cleaning the pocket, the laser is used to compress gum tissue against the root surface and the pocket is sealed with a fibrin clot rather than surgical glue or sutures. As a result, the patient enjoys a decreased risk of infection, sensitivity and post-surgery bleeding. LANAP® patients can expect a recovery time of 24 hours with minimal discomfort. LANAP® is the only procedure that actually enables regeneration of the bone supporting the teeth.

When LANAP® surgery is not an option

Some severe cases of periodontitis require traditional surgery. During traditional gum surgery, also known as flap surgery, the dentist cuts into and peels back gum tissue with a scalpel. By doing so, he or she accesses the roots of the teeth to make cleaning, bone reshaping and cutting gum tissue possible. Sutures are used to secure gums back in place. As a result of the gum cutting and suturing, flap surgery is more painful than LANAP® and requires a longer recovery time.

Fortunately, if advanced periodontal disease has not set in, healthier gums are possible through both types of gum surgery. Both LANAP® gum surgery and traditional gum surgery can be effective treatment options, so each should be discussed with a dentist to review risks and benefits. For either procedure, it is imperative that the patient follows all post-operative instructions to minimize complications.

Traditional & LANAP® post procedure oral care

Following surgery, adherence to an oral home care routine is critical to keep the mouth as clean as possible and to improve the likelihood of efficient healing and a successful outcome. Following laser gum surgery, blood clots will form. It is extremely important not to dislodge the tiny clots that form in and around the gums, as they are an essential part of the healing process. Do not brush or floss until instructed to do so by your dentist. Your dentist may recommend an all-natural product that is gentle on delicate gums for post-surgical treatment.

Dental Herb Company products are specifically formulated to reduce bacteria, inflammation while encouraging tissue strength. Dental Herb Company’s natural oral care products are alcohol and chemical free and are made with precisely calculated proportions of pure essential oils that work synergistically with extracts of organically grown herbs to help maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Talk to your dental professional about using natural oral care products such as these to help make the gum surgery recovery process as smooth as possible. Always follow your dental professional’s instructions.

LANAP® is a registered trademark of Millennium Dental Technologies, Inc.