All About LANAP for the Treatment of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease affects more than eight percent of adults between the ages of 20 to 64 in the United States. This condition results when gums and teeth fail to attach properly, causing irritation and inflammation. Left untreated, periodontitis can cause tooth loss. Regular visits to your Houston dentist can slow the progress of this disease to help you preserve your natural teeth and maintain healthy gums. Researchers are developing new treatments for periodontal disease on a continual basis. One of the most promising of these therapies is the laser-assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP), which addresses periodontitis at the source of the problem.
Basics of Periodontal Disease
Most people first develop periodontitis in their late thirties or early forties. Some of the most common symptoms of this condition include the following:
- Swollen or unusually red gums
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Sensitive teeth
- Bad breath that does not respond to normal treatments
- Bleeding gums
- Teeth that appear longer due to receding of gum tissue
Regular brushing and flossing can help to prevent the onset of periodontal disease. Smoking has also been implicated as a contributing factor in the development of periodontitis; stopping smoking now can significantly reduce your risk of periodontal disease. Your dentist may also prescribe medications to reduce the growth of bacteria and to support other methods of treatment, including surgical and laser therapies.
How LANAP Works
LANAP treatment works by applying laser light directly to the abscesses and pockets that form between gums and teeth. This can kill bacteria and remove diseased tissue without excessive damage to surrounding tissue. LANAP procedures are minimally invasive and typically require the following steps:
- At your initial visit, your dentist will take x-rays of your mouth to determine the location and extent of the problem. He or she will then explain the various options available to you.
- If LANAP is chosen, you will return for an extended treatment session that usually requires two hours or less. During this time, you will receive a local anesthetic to ensure the greatest comfort possible. Your dentist will generally treat only one half of your mouth at a time.
- The lasers used in LANAP therapies are very small and typically cause minimal discomfort. This can not only reduce stress and anxiety during the procedure but can also speed healing during the recovery process.
- Other tools may also be used to augment the LANAP equipment and to ensure the best possible attachment points between teeth and gums.
- After the procedure, you should be able to resume regular activities right away.
LANAP techniques rely on pulsed laser irradiation to eliminate diseased tissue and to stop bacteria in their tracks. These tools are often combined with traditional scaling and debridement equipment to provide the most effective solutions for patients in the dental setting.
After the LANAP Procedure
Patients can generally expect to experience some swelling and minor bleeding after a LANAP treatment. While normal physical activity can be resumed just hours after the procedure, you should stick to a liquid diet for three days following your laser surgery. Avoid brushing the areas that were treated; the bristles of your toothbrush can cause irritation and may hamper healing. Your dentist may also recommend a soft diet for an extended period of time after your treatment. Once your teeth and gums have formed a strong bond once more, you can return to eating your regular diet.
Regular visits to your Houston orthodontics or general dentistry professional can help you maintain a healthy and beautiful smile. By starting your children off right with twice-yearly visits to a Houston dentist for kids, you can make dental health a priority for your entire family. This can build a solid foundation for strong teeth and bright smiles for many years in the future.