Tips for follow up and care following your LANAP procedure
Patients with moderate to severe gum disease must take strategic and dedicated steps to address the issue. One excellent treatment option is the LANAP procedure. The Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure is a specialized periodontal regeneration protocol approved by the FDA (and supported by related studies and clinical results) to help create genuine regeneration of gum and bone tissue to its original, healthy form. This procedure uses a sensitive laser to target bacteria contributing to gum disease.
LANAP is especially beneficial for patients fearful of conventional scalpel surgery and those taking certain medications such as blood thinners.
How does LANAP work?
This innovative procedure uses light energy from a laser directed through a very tiny fiber placed between the gum and tooth. The light energy then cuts away diseased tissue and helps reduce the amount of bacteria present in gum disease. Tartar, often a culprit with inflamed and bleeding gums, is also removed from a tooth’s root surface with an ultrasonic scaler and other specialized instruments. With a clean target area, the body is free to naturally heal.
Does the LNAP Procedure hurt?
The LANAP procedure is completed as the patient is under a local anesthetic of the treated areas. This allows the dentist to precisely direct the laser, and post-procedure discomfort is typically minimal and does not last long. The dramatic increase in patient comfort makes the LANAP surgery procedure very attractive, but individuals should address the need sooner rather than later to reduce further damage to their gums, teeth and bone.
How long does it take?
Depending on the severity of the patient’s periodontal disease, LANAP treatment may be completed in one office visit or multiple visits. The estimated treatment time is reviewed with the patient. As reference, LANAP periodontal surgery of a patient’s full mouth is usually completed in two 2-hour visits.
Benefits of LANAP care
Some of the benefits of LANAP care include:
Minimally invasive allows fast recovery and healing
Less pain and discomfort during and after the procedure
No invasive cutting and stitches
Very little recovery time and many patients immediately resume their daily routines
Laser use removes bacteria with less gum inflammation and bleeding
Reduced risk of gum recession
Better chance of saving natural teeth
Excellent option for patients with other health issues including diabetes, HIV, or people taking specific medications.
What to expect after LNAP treatment
The LANAP protocol does not require a scalpel to open gum tissues and sutures to close the tissues, so the healing process is relatively simple. In fact, given LANAP’s non-invasive process, there are often far fewer side effects.
For 24 hours following treatment, patients should rest with their head elevated. The day after treatment, normal oral hygiene routines can continue on teeth not treated with the procedure. Patients may experience mild aching, throbbing, and soreness of treated areas for the first two or three days, and this discomfort can be relieved with mild pain medications. Tissue around the teeth may appear discolored and your bite may feel different, but the teeth will soon adapt. Patients cannot brush or floss their teeth for the first 10 days after treatment, and must follow a liquid or mushy diet such as mashed or baked potatoes, eggs, and broth or soft soups. Continue to avoid gum, nuts, candy, and even raw vegetables for 6-8 weeks.
Despite avoiding brushing and flossing, the entire mouth should still be kept clean with a salt-water rinse (½ teaspoon salt in 8 ounces of water) or a rinse provided by a periodontist.
As always, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene habits in order to avoid the recurrence of gum disease and to keep your mouth healthy. Oral hygiene really is the best proactive treatment to avoid dental issues in the first place.
As the gums heal, the teeth will shift, and a patient’s bite will need to be adjusted several times over the coming months. Splints are sometimes used to stabilize and immobilize the teeth, and promote healing. Plan to have your teeth cleaned every three months for at least the first year.
If swelling occurs in the treated area, an ice pack placed on the face for 15 minutes is highly effective. Remember that even after the initial 10 days following treatment, healing is not fully complete. It’s important to make smart food choices for at least a month following treatment.