Gum disease is caused by inflammation of the gums and is often exacerbated by poor dental hygiene. Other risk factors include genetics, smoking, diabetes, certain prescription medications and dry mouth. Initial treatment involves deep cleaning and medication – often including prescription mouth rinses and toothpastes and, possibly, antibiotics.
Gum disease can progress to periodontal disease, which means deep pockets form around your teeth, potentially loosening them and even leading to bone loss. Receding gums are also aesthetically displeasing.
If your periodontal disease does not respond to these treatments, your dentist may recommend surgery, which means cutting away diseased gum tissue to make room for healthy tissue. Traditional gum surgery involves two to four visits, and then return visits to remove sutures.
It takes a few days to recover from each visit, often meaning you have to go on a temporary soft foods-only or liquid diet. You might have to take antibiotics before and after surgery, and you’re likely to need a few days off work.
LANAP is a different treatment method for gum disease. The acronym stands for Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure.
Instead of cutting into your gums and suturing, the dentist will use a fiber-optic tip that produces light that kills bacteria. Then an ultrasonic scaler will clean out the “pockets” that have formed. The laser will then seal the pocket closed.
Recovery from LANAP is generally less than 24 hours, and many patients find they don’t need to take any time off work. Because the LANAP laser seals the gum pockets, there’s less bleeding which is very important for patients who are taking blood thinners. In fact, with this kind of surgery, patients generally do not need to stop taking blood-thinning and similar medication. With traditional surgery, they may have to stop taking these medications for up to a week before, with potential risk to general health.
You will still need to rest for a few hours after the LANAP, go on a liquid diet for a day or two, and eat soft food for anywhere from 3 to 7 days, depending on how quickly your gums heal.
LANAP is also less painful than traditional gum surgery. A local anesthetic is used, and sedation is an option as well. It has better cosmetic results, because there is less damage to healthy tissue. Finally, LANAP is generally less expensive than traditional surgery. It is often, but not always, covered by insurance.
If you are in need of gum surgery in Miami or Coral Gables, please contact Gables Sedation & Family Dentistry. We are proud to offer LANAP to our customers and our dentists have years of experience administering the treatment with excellent results.