September 25, 2018
Health & Fitness
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Laser Your Gum Disease

Dr. Jeffrey Cranska
Dr. Jeffrey Cranska's picture
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March 20, 2018

New methods for treating medical conditions and diseases are always being developed. Arthroscopy has allowed surgeons to be minimally invasive. Using lasers, LASIK can correct vision.

Dentistry has lasers and procedures (LANAP=LAR and LAPIP) to treat periodontal disease in a minimally invasive way.

Periodontal disease is one of the most common medical conditions facing our adult population. As many as 80 percent of 35 year olds are affected by periodontal disease. Two phases exist in periodontal disease. The early stage, gingivitis, is a bacterium-caused gum inflammation. Untreated, gingivitis progresses into a chronic condition called periodontitis, which affects the bone supporting the teeth. Many people don't know they have periodontal disease until they are at risk for losing teeth. Symptoms of periodontal disease include bleeding gums during brushing, swollen and tender gums, gums that recede away from the teeth, loose teeth, chronic bad breath, changes in the way teeth come together and pus between teeth and gums. However, it is common for there to be no symptoms until it is too late to prevent permanent damage. Studies link the bacteria from periodontal disease to heart disease, diabetes, and low birth weight in babies. These bacteria need to be destroyed while still in the mouth.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a laser treatment that can be performed in a dental office. The Nd: YAG laser uses light energy directed through a tiny glass fiber. It removes diseased tissue and aids in the reduction of bacteria associated with periodontal disease. When the infected area is thoroughly cleaned, the body can heal itself. Laser periodontal therapy kills bacteria in the mouth, minimizes discomfort, eliminates bleeding, controls swelling, requires a shorter time in the chair, is less invasive and has faster healing times than conventional scalpel surgery. The laser eliminates the need for scalpels, sutures and post-surgical packing materials. The laser's use in periodontal treatment allows for comparable end results to more traditional and conventional therapies.

Recent FDA approval has further validated laser periodontal therapy and confirmed the procedure as LANAP (laser-assisted new attachment procedure)=LAR (laser-assisted regeneration). Periodontal regeneration is true regeneration of the attachment apparatus (new cementum, new periodontal ligament and new alveolar bone) on a previously diseased root surface when used specifically in the LANAP protocol.

LAPIP is to save ailing and failing implants. The LAPIP laser protocol is to regrow bone around implants.

The laser's use in dentistry will continue to increase as dentists strive to provide better patient care. Patients will be able to take advantage of this more friendly treatment procedure from this exciting developing laser technology.

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