LANAP / Laser Periodontal Therapy in Denver
If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease (more commonly referred to as gum disease) than you may be a candidate for laser periodontal therapy in Denver, CO. . Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammation in the teeth, jaw bones and gums resulting in a progressive destruction of the supporting structures of the teeth. If left untreated, this may result in tooth loss, bad breath, pain and various related systemic problems (heart disease, diabetes, stroke, pre-mature births, etc). Your problem may be localized (only one or a few areas of your mouth) or generalized (affecting over 33% of your teeth). Periodontal disease is one of the most common (and under-treated) diseases in America, affecting roughly 75% of the adult population.
With laser periodontal therapy (LPT), we are now able to treat your periodontal disease using the most advanced technology available today in a less invasive manner. The use of lasers preserves gum tissue which is often lost in traditional scalpel surgery, and often results in a faster and less painful recovery. It is important to understand that periodontal disease is a chronic infection. LPT is an excellent tool for treatment of periodontal disease, but it is not a cure. THERE IS NO CURE FOR PERIODONTAL DISEASE. The goal of LPT (like other periodontal therapies) is to reverse some of the effects of the disease and to stabilize your condition, helping you to maintain a healthy mouth in the future.
Your home care during and after therapy is VERY IMPORTANT to the success of your treatment and sustained results. We will make recommendations during active therapy and afterwards during maintenance visits. This will include daily use of an antimicrobial mouth rinse, a powered toothbrush and interdental aids (toothpicks, floss, etc.). In addition, it will be critical for your continued results to continue with professional cleanings every 3 months (these are often alternated between your periodontist and general dentist following the first year of treatment).
How Laser Periodontal Therapy Works:
A. After local anesthesia, the depths of the pockets are measured and recorded
B. The first pass of the laser selectively removes bacteria and the infected pocket lining
C. Ultrasonic instruments clean and smooth the root surfaces
D. The second pass of the laser further disinfects the pocket and creates a blood clot
E. Compress loose tissues against the tooth, creating a fibrin seal
F. The bite is adjusted by selective grinding to eliminate traumatic tooth movement
G. Healing results in new attachment after 12 months
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Your Surgical Visits
If treating your whole mouth, we usually treat one half at a time with visits roughly one week apart. If only treating 1-2 areas, the entire therapy can be completed in only one session. Each surgical visit takes 2-3 hours on average.
The mouth is numbed, as if you were having a filling. Options are available for sedation if your prefer. After the pockets are measured and recorded, the teeth and infected tissues are treated with the laser and ultrasonic cleaning instruments. After selective removal of infected tissues and pocket disinfection, the laser is again used to develop a healing clot which seals the gums to the tooth, protecting the healing pocket. The bite is then adjusted with selective grinding to remove any harmful forces on the teeth which would impair the healing events. You will then be given extensive instructions for diet and home care. You will also be given prescriptions for prevention of post-operative infection and pain management. Please take these as directed.
After Your Surgery
Most people experience some mild soreness the first few days after therapy which is managed with a mild over the counter anti-inflammatory. The tissues around the treated teeth will appear discolored, similar to what a scab may look like when it gets wet. It is very important that you DO NOT brush or pick this away, as this “scab” is the fibrin barrier that allows the gums underneath to heal with a new attachment to the teeth.
Your bite will also likely feel a bit different to you, as the teeth in the treated area(s) will not come together as heavily as they did before. This can feel a bit awkward and unbalanced at first, but the teeth will quickly adapt. After all necessary areas have been treated, and further adjustments are made, your bite should feel stronger and more stable than ever!
As the gums, jaw bones, and teeth continue to heal, the teeth will shift into more stable positions and your bite may need to be adjusted a few more times to compensate (sometimes even a year or more after initial treatment). Although it may seem counter-intuitive, inadequate adjustments are usually what is responsible for postoperative soreness and occasional compromised results.
Four to six weeks after surgery, your dentist may take impressions of your teeth and a custom bite-guard will be fabricated in a lab to stabilize and immobilize your teeth while you sleep. It is very important to wear this bite-guard when you sleep as even a small amount of clenching or grinding can prevent proper healing and possibly reverse the positive effects gained through laser therapy.
Professional periodontal cleanings with post-operative checks are strongly recommended every three months with Poulos & Somers during the first year of healing. At your 12 month visit we will perform a comprehensive re-evaluation exam, complete with a new full mouth probing chart and dental radiographs to determine if any further therapy is needed. Based on your condition at this time we usually recommend that you remain on a 3 month cleaning interval, now alternating between your family dentist and Poulos & Somers. Studies have shown that individuals treated for periodontal disease are able to best maintain oral health and the gains of therapy by remaining on a 3-month cleaning schedule indefinitely.