Lasers to Treat Gum Disease
In 2004, the US. Food and Drug Administration approved the LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure) for the treatment of periodontitis or gum disease. In LANAP periodontal surgery, a dental laser is used to treat the periodontal pocket. The laser energy selectively removes diseased or infected pocket epithelium from the underlying connective tissue. Since the laser energy is quite selective for pocket epithelium, it allows for healing and regeneration of the tissues. After the LANAP procedure, most patients experience new root surface coating (cementum) and new connective tissues (periodontal ligament) formation (collagen) on tooth roots, preventing tooth loss. Pocket depth reduction is comparable to that achieved by conventional respective surgery. Significant post-operative reduction in gingival inflammation and bleeding on probing are the desirable results seen with the LANAP protocol. Minimal pain is easily controlled with the use of over the counter NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. With normal three-month periodontal recall and maintenance, the LANAP-provided new attachment is stable and has proven resistant to future periodontal breakdown.