Frequently Asked Questions – the LANAP protocol
- What is the LANAP® protocol?
- How does it work?
- Does it hurt?
- How long does it take?
- Does this treatment cost more than traditional gum surgery?
- What to Expect: Your LANAP Surgery
- What to Expect: The First Few Days
- What to Expect: Follow-up Care
- Who is a candidate for LANAP laser surgery?
What is the LANAP® protocol?
The LANAP protocol is a laser-based treatment for gum disease, that uses a very specific laser that targets the bacteria that causes gum disease. Fear of periodontal treatment is greatly reduced when patients find out no scalpel or sutures will be used. Patient friendly laser treatment gets patients to agree to the treatment they need and continue with the follow-up care that is prescribed. The LANAP protocol is the only surgical laser gum disease treatment that is FDA-cleared and supported with histological studies and clinical results.
Our office is one of the first in the area to offer the LANAP protocol for the treatment of gum disease/periodontitis.
How does it work?
Tartar, associated with inflamed and bleeding gums, is removed form the root surface of the tooth using an ultrasonic scaler and small instruments. Then, a small amount of light energy from a laser is directed through a tiny fiber, which is gently placed between the gum and tooth. This light energy removes a tiny amount of diseased tissue and aids in reducing the bacteria associated with the disease. After the area is thoroughly cleaned, the body can heal the area naturally.
Does it hurt?
Although the procedure itself can be virtually painless, we may anesthetize the area for the patient’s comfort. In this way we can precisely direct the laser for treatment. Post-procedure discomfort is typically minimal and of short duration.
How long does it take?
Initial treatment is focused on scaling and the use of small instruments to remove the tartar. Then, the laser portion of the treatment is performed and normally only takes a few minutes. Depending on the severity of the patient’s periodontal disease, treatment may be accomplished in one office visit or in multiple visits. The estimated treatment time is reviewed with patients when we discuss their treatment plan.
Does this treatment cost more than traditional gum surgery?
There are many factors which may affect the cost, such as the severity of the periodontal disease, a nd how many teeth are involved. Patients should discuss their payment options and costs with the dental office personnel. The dramatically increased comfort for our patients made the new system attractive to our office. We do encourage patients to take care of the need now to reduce further damage to their gums, teeth and bone.
What to Expect: Your LANAP Surgery
LANAP periodontal surgery is a full-mouth procedure usually completed in two 2-hour visits. We complete one side of the mouth during the first visit, and complete the other side on the second visit. Surgeries are usually scheduled within one week of one another. It is common to quickly return to work or other activities.
What to Expect: The First Few Days
You may experience mild aching, throbbing, and soreness of the treated areas for the first couple days-this can be helped with mild pain medications. The tissue around the teeth may appear discolored. Your bite may feel slightly different, but the teeth will adapt. You cannot brush or floss for the first 7-10 days after treatment, and you will need to follow a liquid or mushy diet. Smoking decreases results for all gum treatments, including LANAP.
What to Expect: Follow-up Care
As the gums heal, the teeth will shift, and your bite will need to be adjusted several times over the coming months. Splints may be fabricated to stabilize and immobilize the teeth. It is important that you wear these splints as instructed to promote healing. Expect to have your teeth professionally cleaned every three months for at least the first year, and then as recommended by your dentist.
Who is a candidate for LANAP laser surgery?
Patients with moderate-to-severe gum disease can especially benefit from the LANAP protocol. The LANAP protocol is also an excellent treatment option for patients who are fearful of conventional scalpel surgery and patients taking certain medications, such as blood thinners. With the LANAP protocol, patients do not have to stop taking any medications.