Healthy gums are a crucial part of having a healthy smile. These are the foundation for the teeth and jaw bone, and if the fallen victim to gum disease can start to pull away from teeth, causing bone loss and possibly tooth loss too. There are now two methods for treating periodontal disease. These include LANAP® Laser Surgery and traditional gum surgery. But which is the best treatment option for you, how do these differ, and what can patients expect from each? Let’s take a look at both treatment options, and learn more about the process, recovery, and which is ultimately the better solution.

Healthy gum tissue is classified as those that have pockets smaller than 3mm. When gingivitis is present, the pockets can increase to 4mm. Once the pockets are more significant than 5mm, periodontal disease is present. Most dentists will recommend treatment in between 5-7mm to prevent bone and tissue loss. 

Traditional Gum Surgery

Still widespread practice in most dental offices, traditional gum surgery has been around for decades. With this method, patients will undergo conventional surgery. This means they will have anesthesia, the gums will be cut open, the area will be cleaned, and then the area will be sewen up. 

There are a few downsides to this method of clearing gum disease. The first is the pain during and throughout recovery. The gums can be quite tender, and when your dentist has to cut into and open them, this will have some discomfort. When healing, the stitches can get itchy along with being painful, especially when needing to eat or drink. 

LANAP® Laser Protocol

The latest innovation in dentistry comes with the use of lasers. LANAP® was developed to help patients eliminate gum disease, help heal their gum tissue, and regenerate bone. Because the age of dentistry is looking for more treatment options that are less painful, lasers have become another foundational element. LANAP® has been proven highly effective at treating gum disease, while no longer requiring the dentist to cut open the gum tissue and suture the area closed. Also, the laser only targets the bad tissue, whereas traditional gum surgery can often cut out healthy tissue too. 

The Key Differences

 While the goal for both LANAP® and traditional gum surgery are the same, the process and recovery are both quite different. Those that are concerned with the health of their teeth and gums may consider periodontal treatments from their local dental office. However, not every dentist offers advanced technology, as it is still an expensive machine to acquire, and the dentist should attend educational courses to use laser effectively. Take a look at some of these critical differences between gum disease therapies.

Pain

Anyone that has had the traditional surgical solution for gum disease will tell you the same thing. It is painful. There’s no getting around the discomfort posed from cutting and suturing the gums when having the conventional surgery. But those needing gum disease treatment will be thrilled to learn that there is minimal discomfort associated with LANAP®. What’s even better is most patients won’t also require the use of prescription pain medicine afterward. They can resume normal activities sometime the same day.

Recession

In the traditional method of gum disease treatment, the recession of the gum can be massive. Sometimes as much as 15mm in severe cases of periodontitis. The reason being is that conventional surgical solutions will cut down the gum line, while also removing healthy tissue too. Once the gum tissue has receded this far, the tooth root is often exposed. This can lead to extreme tooth sensitivity or further problems with infection. LANAP®, by comparison, is far less invasive as well as more selective in the tissue that is removed. The result of laser therapy indicates no significant gum line recession. 

Healing Time

LANAP® has a faster healing time overall. Patients can go back to their normal activities on the same day in most cases. Because the laser targets only the bad tissue, eliminates disease and infection, rapid healing is the result. Those that have traditional gum surgery can expect weeks of healing, and a great deal of discomfort the first few days following the operation.

Lasting Results

Both traditional and laser therapy offer great, long-lasting results. However, this is dependant on the patient and how well they care for their teeth and gums after. But those that maintain results by visiting the dentist regularly and taking care of at home can expect great results. There are slightly better results with the LANAP®, though. The laster therapy can stimulate the root surface, promote regeneration and attachment of the gums to the teeth.

Conclusion

Is traditional gum surgery a better solution, or is the latest innovation of laser therapy available in the dental office the victor? While each of these methods has been proven effective, it is often up to the discretion of the dentist operating, and what could be covered under insurance that makes the decision. While some insurance companies, and more jumping on board all the time, cover LANAP® Laser Surgery, some still will only cover the oral surgical solution gum disease that has been used for decades.  

While many dentists still use Traditional Gum Surgery, the wave of the future indicates that LANAP® and other laser gum surgery solutions are the best treatment available for patients looking to eliminate periodontal disease, rebuild tissue, and stop the progression of pocket growth and attachment loss.