If you have been told that you have periodontal disease and surgery will be required, it is important to know the difference between traditional gum surgery, (which utilizes a scalpel and sutures) and laser surgery.
Traditional surgery typically utilizes a scalpel so that the doctor can reflect the gum tissue back for visibility and to clean the pocket and reduce the pocket depth. The pocket depth is reduced by cutting away tissue. In many cases the additional use of bone grafting or membrane materials will be needed in order to achieve reattachment of the gum tissue to the root surface of the tooth. Although in some cases the only way to treat the patient is by traditional surgery the vast majority of patients that we see opt for the less invasive and more comfortable LANAP®, or Laser Gum Surgery.
LANAP® does not require the use of a blade, or sutures. It is a minimally invasive surgery that results in very little recession and pain for the patient. The laser operates at a wavelength that can tell the difference between the diseased tissue and the healthy tissue. This means that the laser is extremely safe and selective when being used in surgery. For the first time we can remove the diseased tissue and bacteria from your gums without harming, cutting, or removing healthy tissue!
Some Key Differences Between Traditional Gum Surgery and LANAP®
Pain – Traditional surgery can be fairly painful and require pain medication and downtime. Many patients opt for dental implants to avoid the pain involved in gum surgery. LANAP® involves much less discomfort. There is almost never a need to prescribe pain medication and the patients can usually go right back to work and move on with their daily routine.
Recession – Because traditional surgery requires the use of a blade there is no getting away from the gum line being reduced. The question is how much. Traditional surgery can result in lowering the gum line anywhere from 2-4 mm all the way to 10-15mm. LANAP® is much less invasive and more selective in the tissue that it cuts… This results in little to no recession of the gum line. This is a very important difference because recession can lead to a number of aesthetic problems for the patient, and cause the teeth to become very sensitive to cold and hot temperatures.
Healing Time – The healing time for LANAP® is much faster because it is a new technology that is less invasive than scalpel surgery. The laser kills the bacteria in your pockets resulting in reduction of inflammation and healthier tissue.
Long-term results – Although we can have fantastic results long term with both treatments, LANAP® is far more predictable when it comes to bone regeneration and connective reattachment of the tissue. The laser stimulates the bone that surrounds the root of the tooth and has been proven to encourage regeneration, often saving teeth that would have previously been extracted. Many times we can reverse the effects of periodontal disease and the patient will get better and better as time goes on.
In conclusion, as technology evolves and breakthroughs are made in dentistry, we are committed to keeping up and offering the latest and most advanced treatments to our patients in order to provide the highest standard of care available. Utilizing a laser to treat gum disease is something that many patients can take advantage of, although not every patient is a candidate for laser treatment. Please give us a call to schedule your laser consultation today to find out if LANAP® is right for you!
Dr. Brett Maddux, located in Birmingham, AL, is a Periodontist who serves patients from Birmingham and the surrounding areas. We are looking forward to welcoming you to our office and encourage you to schedule your appointment today!
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