1. What is periodontal disease?
You could be one of 50% of Americans who have periodontal disease, the major cause of tooth loss in adults. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and surrounding bone structure around the teeth. It starts off as plaque, an opaque film which eventually hardens, forming tartar or calculus. Calculus deposits harbor bacteria which infect the gums. In early stages, this is called gingivitis. Symptoms include red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush your teeth. It also may cause bad breath and an unpleasant taste in their mouth. Left untreated, gingivitis becomes periodontitis, a much more serious form of the disease where periodontal pockets are formed, separating teeth from the gums and supporting bone structure. Without treatment, infection progresses and the pockets deepen, resulting in tooth loss.
2. How do you treat periodontal disease?
The way to repair the damage is to get rid of the infection and close up the pockets. Until recently, that meant surgery and sutures. But today, we offer the LANAP protocol, a patient friendly, minimally invasive procedure that's a great improvement over standard gum surgery.
3. What is LANAP?
LANAP is an FDA Cleared periodontal procedure provided by a dentist trained and licensed by the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry. The LANAP procedure uses a special kind of laser called the PerioLase MVP-y. The laser fiber, which is only about as wide as three human hairs is inserted between the gum tissue and your teeth, where it painlessly removes the noxious elements that cause gum disease.
4. How many treatments will I need?
The LANAP procedure can be performed in just two two-hour sessions verses eight plus one-hour sessions with conventional surgery. You don't have to worry about bleeding, stitches or post-treatment infection, because the gums haven't been cut.
5. What are the benefits of LANAP?
- No healthy tissue is removed, further enhancing the chance for the gum tissue to reattach to the tooth surface without further exposure of the root (recession).
- No cutting and no suturing which means less bleeding and less pain.
- Faster healing with little or no "down time".
- Less expensive than traditional periodontal surgery.
- Better, longer-lasting results. In fact, 98% of LANAP treated patients remain stable after five years.
- Laser therapy stimulates bone regeneration.
6. What should I expect during my first visit?
We will schedule a consultation to explain how the laser works and give you a demonstration. Next, we will take x-rays to make a definitive diagnostics and determine the extent of the infection.
7. What are dental implants? Am I a candidate?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root, usually made of titanium, used to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth to replace missing teeth. For most patients our office will use either a digital panoramic x-ray or a 3D CT Scan along with an oral exam to determine if you are a candidate for a dental implant procedure. Most people are good candidates for a dental implant procedure.
8. My sister told me about implant supported dentures. How do I know if I am a candidate?
As with any dental implants, we will determine if you have enough available bone to place implants that can support and stabilize dentures. Then we will evaluate whether standard or mini implants will be best for your individual needs. If you are considering implant-supported dentures, consider getting an evaluation sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the greater the risk of bone loss and this could reduce the options for implant-supported dentures.