Gum Disease Treatment – The New Laser Treatment for Periodontal Disease

As a retired veterinarian, Dr. Kathy Todic was not looking forward to her next trip to the dentist.

Dr. Todic knew she had advanced gum disease and that she needed to have surgery. “I had spent lots of time treating gum disease on dogs,” Todic said, “and I knew you have to remove a lot of the gum. I told my husband I would probably come out of the surgery looking like a horse.

But while she was waiting for surgery, Kathy got on the Internet and learned about a newly developed method of treating severe gingivitis called Laser Assisted New Attachment Program (LANAP) developed by Millennium Dental Technologies.

laserThe only FDA-approved laser therapy for gum surgery, this technique is used to remove diseased tissue without cutting or suturing the gums, leaving healthy gums beneath. Only the infected tissue is removed, leaving more gum to remain attached to the teeth, preventing the “long in the tooth” effect in which ordinary surgery for gingivitis often results.

The major drawback other than cost, Dr. Todic found, was the need to go on a liquid diet for 3 to 5 weeks after the procedure. But she also needed to lose weight, and decided to kill two birds with one stone.

Dentists who do laser surgery for gum disease don’t offer it to every patient. Here are the three reasons why.

  1. Laser surgery takes longer than traditional surgery, and it varies with each patient.
  2. Laser surgery is not cheap. The laser tool costs the dentist $160,000 plus about $1,000 a month for maintenance. As a result, the dentist fees for the procedure may be as high as $20,000.
  3. Laser surgery is not covered by most dental insurance. Patients have to pay out of pocket, and for most, this simply is not an option.

For those who have access to the procedure, however, it offers a more focused way of removing just the pockets of infection in the gums, reversing gum disease without removing extra tissue. There is a more pleasing cosmetic result, no need to remove stitches, and, overall, far less trauma to the mouth.

Whichever method your dentist uses, it is important to treat gum disease. Destruction of tissue can loosen your teeth, and production of inflammatory chemicals can be dangerous to women during pregnancy and elevate the risk of heart attack and stroke in both sexes.

And unless a dentist or dental hygienist pokes and probes to find pockets of inflammation in your gums, periodontal disease can cause advanced tissue loss before you even know it’s there. Don’t put off saving your teeth, and possibly saving your life. But even better, prevent gum disease by getting regular dental checkups.