LANAP, Laser-Assisted Periodontal Surgery
A tooth is situated in a socket in the upper or lower jaw bone. Each tooth is suspended or anchored in its own socket by ligaments. The gum tissue attaches to the tooth at the top of the socket. If one gets food or plaque (old food, bacteria and sloughed cheek cells) stuck between the teeth or around a tooth, inflammation (primarily manifested by bleeding or swelling) ensues. It's just like getting a sliver stuck underneath a fingernail. This inflammation can cause the attachment of the gums to the tooth to deteriorate. This deterioration starts at the gum-line, in the form of a periodontal (boney) pocket. The longer the situation is allowed to exist, the deeper the pocket gets. It will eventually get so deep the patient cannot get anything that might get lodged in that pocket out of the pocket, deepening the pocket further. Eventually, the bone is gone and the tooth falls out.
When we (dentists or dental hygienists) discover this condition of chronic food impaction or gum inflammation, we can do what we call a laser-assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP) which will allow the gums to re-attach to the tooth. Use of the laser does three things. It creates access for the hygienist to scale (deep clean) the very depths of the pocket; it kills the bacteria which has taken-up residence in the bone, allowing the bone to regenerate; and it allows the gum tissue to re-attach to the teeth.
Before the development of this technique using a laser, the periodontal specialist would cut the gum away from the bone, re-contour the bone, and in some cases pack artificial bone into the boney socket, then sew up the gums again. Very uncomfortable (dental euphemism for "hurts like the dickens") post-operatively. The laser technique is much less invasive, and the recovery is almost painless.
We have saved many teeth with our Periolase in the past five years. As a result, removable dentures because of pre-maturely lost teeth are almost totally a thing of the past.
Our job is keeping your teeth pretty and functional, and in your mouth.