Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and it can have a severely negative impact on your oral health. Periodontal disease starts off as plaque and then hardens into tartar or calculus. This harbors bacteria which destroys gums, teeth, and bone. If you don’t receive treatment for periodontal disease, it can lead to tooth loss. Luckily, there are gum surgery options to help fight periodontal disease: laser gum surgery and traditional gum surgery. You can find out the difference between the two approaches below and learn the benefits to using laser gum surgery over traditional gum surgery.
Traditional gum surgery, also called “flap surgery,” involves gently lifting the gum tissue so that periodontist Dr. Karl A. Rose can clean the surface of teeth, remove diseased tissue, and encourage the area to heal in a healthy way. Flap surgery is often recommended for patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease, and can be helpful when Dr. Rose needs to inspect the underlying tissues more carefully.
The procedure begins like any other oral surgery, with the entire area being numbed with a local anesthetic. Next, a small incision is made along the gum line to allow Dr. Rose to lift the tissue and access the area under the gingival pocket. After the teeth are clean, the flap will be brought back down and the incision will be closed. Recovery from flap surgery usually takes a few days, and Dr. Rose recommends sticking to soft foods like soup and gelatin until the area has healed.
LANAP, which stands for Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure, involves using a small periodontal laser probe to remove diseased tissue from within the gingival pocket. LANAP can be used to treat all cases of periodontal disease, but is usually recommended for patients with moderate to severe signs of periodontitis.
During LANAP, the area is numbed with a local anesthetic. Next, the laser tool is fitted with the periodontal probe, and this probe is gently pushed into the gingival pocket. Dr. Rose will move the tool around the tooth within the pocket, where it will target diseased tissue, encourage healthy growth, and eliminate bacteria. LANAP also encourages a blood clot to form around the tooth, which seals the space and prevents infection.
While any gum disease treatment will bring an improvement in the condition, LANAP offers a wide array of advantages over traditional surgery, including:
Unlike traditional surgery for periodontal disease, which may require several appointments, LANAP can be completed in as little as one or two hours.
LANAP doesn’t require flaps to be cut, which means there is little to no bleeding during the procedure. This also means that there are no stitches or dressings to care for after surgery, which helps to improve recovery.
The LANAP laser is special because it uses a wavelength of light that only targets diseased tissue. The light used during LANAP passes through water and dental enamel. This means that gum tissue cells laden with bacteria are instantly destroyed, while healthy, happy tissues are left unharmed—speeding healing and preventing gum recession.
Research has shown that LANAP can eliminate upwards of 99.9% of bacteria from the gingival pocket, even targeting bacteria below the surface of the tissue. This means that patients who undergo LANAP experience fewer infections after surgery, improving results.
If you have any questions about laser gum surgery or traditional periodontal surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Tony Rose, one of the best periodontists in the Washington DC area. We'll be happy to answer your questions and help you on your way to full periodontal health.