No one single dental treatment can cure anything, but LANAP comes as close as it gets. With the incorporation of soft tissue laser therapy in our periodontal offices in Conroe and The woodlands, Dr. Kip Saunders can enhance the effectiveness of typical periodontal treatments and drastically improve their long-term results.
LANAP is a soft tissue laser treatment that can eliminate up to about 100% of the infectious bacteria inside of someone’s gums (including already diseased or dying tissues) and stimulate new regeneration of gums and bone. When combined with conventional periodontal services, LANAP offers the best care and outcome for managing chronic gum disease.
When we pair LANAP with services like deep cleanings (periodontal scaling and root planing), it’s possible to bypass conventional flap surgery, shorten overall treatment time, and achieve better results when it comes to retaining natural teeth. LANAP isn’t used by itself, but as a partner with traditional tissue therapy it offers the best potential outcome for your smile. It could mean the difference when it comes to deciding whether to have to extract any remaining teeth.
Understanding LANAP: What is It?
“LANAP” is an acronym for “laser assisted new attachment procedure.” Periodontal specialist Dr. Kip Saunders has been using LANAP therapies for over a decade, providing revolutionary and non-invasive care to our patients in the Conroe and The Woodlands areas.
LANAP started out as an experimental procedure with soft tissue lasers. In time, it became a go-to procedure for treating aggressive periodontal disease. Dr. Saunders has been using the technology for several years because of how well it works for our patients.
In fact, Dr. Saunders was one of the first periodontists to adopt the use of LANAP in his practice. While serving on faculty at several different dental schools, he met several practitioners who used dental lasers and were influential in developing treatments related to soft tissue care. LANAP founders, Dr Robert Gregg and Dr Del McCarthy, were involved in creating the LANAP protocol. Dr Ray Yukna, Chairman of the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine established the scientific proof that LANAP was successful at treating advance periodontal disease. Dr. Saunders had networked and worked with Dr Yukna. He saw the firsthand results of how LANAP was transforming the health of real-life patients. However, many periodontists remained skeptical of LANAP. Dr Yukna’s 2007 histology studies proved unequivocally that LANAP was essentially the “holy grail” that periodontists had been looking for, in that it could help regenerate bone around the teeth. This monumental scientific standpoint was a turning point for laser dentistry. Following publication of this landmark study, Dr. Saunders flew to Colorado to take a hands-on LANAP course form Dr Yukna, who continues to be one of his good friends to this day.
Our periodontal specialty practice in Conroe and The Woodlands has just incorporated a newer laser procedure that’s similar to LANAP, known as the Fotona TwinLight Procedure. Although the two are quite similar, there are a few small differences when it comes to how they work and what they offer our patients. However, most people are familiar with the LANAP name, as it has been around for much longer. Both use laser technology, but different types of lasers are built into the newer protocol.
Conroe Laser Alternatives to Gum Surgery
LANAP and laser gum treatments are one of the top procedures that we offer in our Conroe office, and it’s no surprise why. The advanced technique allows Dr. Saunders to bypass conventional gum surgeries like flap cleanings or retraction, which used to be necessary for combatting aggressive gum disease.
Since dental lasers can be used in combination with our periodontal microscope, it’s possible for Dr. Saunders and our periodontal-focused hygiene team to clean deep below the gum surfaces without ever physically retracting them to expose the roots. As a result, you don’t have to endure unnecessary gum surgery.
With a traditional gum retraction (aka “flap surgery”) the gums used to be sectioned and then pulled back, revealing the full surface of the tooth that wasn’t still embedded in the bone. After a physical cleaning was performed, the gum tissues were draped back over the tooth and then sutured in place. Following the gum surgery, an intraoral dressing (similar to a medicated putty or bandage) was shaped over the sutured areas while the gums healed. Needless to say, the procedure was lengthy and could be slower to recover from.
Fortunately, lasers like Fotona and LANAP eliminate the need for such harsh measures. Instead, experts like Dr. Saunders can clean away all of the harsh, infectious bacteria without traumatizing the soft tissue covering your teeth. Laser gum therapy is highly successful and can eliminate as many as 80% of gum surgery cases in our office. While there is still sometimes a need for surgical strategies in periodontal care, they are fewer and farther between.
What are the Benefits of LANAP in The Woodlands?
There are some pretty big advantages when it comes to choosing LANAP or laser gum treatment over conventional procedures. Here are some of the most significant:
It Generates New Bone Growth — Over the course of the last several decades, dental researchers found that it was very difficult to stimulate the body to grow new bone structure.
That is, until now.
When LANAP was discovered to generate new bone, it drastically changed everything in modern dental care. Since bone loss is essentially the primary factor that causes periodontal-induced tooth loss, being able to reverse the disease process meant the possibility of not losing your teeth at all!
Some people say that gum disease runs in their family, or since their parents lost their teeth at a young age, they will too. LANAP changes that. It stops the process of infectious bone loss so that you have a stable, healthy foundation to retain your teeth for several more years (or even a lifetime!)
It Facilitates Reattachment Between Your Gums and Teeth — Aside from regenerating new bone, dental laser treatment like LANAP and TwinLight help to initiate coagulation between the newly exposed healthy tissue cells and the porous surface of tooth roots.
In order for coagulation and attachment to occur, the bacterial smear layer on the tooth root needs to be completely cleaned away. Lasers are the only thing that make it possible to do that, and with our periodontal microscope Dr. Saunders can physically see total calculus removal to make sure the area is ready for coagulation and regeneration.
When we trigger the coagulation process, we’re physically facilitating a new connection between your gum tissues and the tooth, thus “shortening” the depth of your gum pocket. So, if you came to the periodontist for 7, 8, or 9mm pocket depths and the assumption that the tooth would need to be extracted, triggering new attachment levels could theoretically shorten those pockets to, say, 4 or 5mm (which are easier to manage.) or even completely eliminate them. When we combine this fact with that of new bone generation, it’s a win-win for our patients with gum disease!
It Reduces the Need for Surgery — Incorporating laser gum treatments into our practice dramatically reduces the number of periodontal surgeries that we need to perform.
Years ago, anyone with severe periodontal disease would need a flap surgery, bone grafts, and possibly soft tissue grafting to avoid tooth loss. But with the benefits of laser technology we can naturally trigger bone growth, decontaminate deep gum pockets, and then physically trigger reattachment all without having to retract the gum tissues.
Anyone who is asked if they would prefer gum surgery vs. laser gum treatments would prefer the latter! Not only is LANAP and TwinLight laser treatment safe, it’s gentler and less invasive to complete than a normal periodontal surgery. There’s reduced painful recovery time or sutures that need to be removed. Rather, your body is triggered to heal and rejuvenate on its own. Lasers speed healing.
It’s effective for treating advanced periodontal disease — When we make soft tissue lasers a part of your periodontal treatment plan, we can remove up to 100% of the bacteria that are inside of your periodontal pocket. Lasers are gentle on healthy tissues but eradicate the bad bacteria. With the TwinLight laser process, Dr. Saunders can physically go back and remove the superficial layer of diseased skin cells, and then expose the healthy cells underneath them. When those healthy tissues have access to your tooth’s clean surface, combined with the coagulation stimulation of the laser, you’ll see faster reattachment between the gums and teeth. As such, it works better than a scaling and root planing. !
Plus, we use a periodontal microscope that magnifies the surface of your teeth by 50x, allowing us to see and remove plaque or tartar below the gums. With that visual information, we can be more direct and precise in the cleanings that we’re performing, and thus, the efficacy of the laser treatment afterwards.
It Increases Your Chance of Saving Your Teeth — Physically cleaning your teeth is just one part of a comprehensive periodontal treatment plan. When we’re able to stimulate new bone growth, we can add back to the foundation that’s holding your teeth in place. Periodontal disease destroys bone, but LANAP is scientifically proven to help regenerate new bone in the area that’s exposed to the laser.
By halting tissue detachment, eliminating the bacteria with a laser, and then stimulating new bone growth, you have all of the keys needed for a successful treatment outcome. Laser therapy goes beyond just the removal of infections bacteria; it physically stimulates the repair of your body. It can mean the difference between a healthy smile or therapeutic tooth extractions leading to dentures.
It’s Successful — There isn’t any other kind of gum disease treatment that is this conservative when it comes to repairing bone and reattaching the gums to your teeth. So, if it means the difference between potential tooth loss or extractions and saving your smile, it’s best to see a specialist like Dr. Saunders who offers LANAP in their Conroe office!
Opting to see a specialist for laser gum treatments can help you prevent tooth loss and save your smile for years to come. It works quickly, so that you see the results faster than you would with a traditional deep cleaning procedure performed without LANAP. Plus, Dr. Saunders uses modern lasers that combine various types of light energy to stimulate reattachment of the gum tissues that have already pulled back from your tooth roots!
Candidates for Laser or LANAP Therapy in North Houston
Our periodontal specialist in The Woodlands recommends LANAP and laser gum treatments to the majority, if not all, of our periodontal patients.
If you’ve received conventional periodontal therapy (such as a deep cleaning) from your general dentist but haven’t responded well to treatment, they will probably refer you to a specialist like Dr. Saunders. Our practice has the additional technology to provide treatments like LANAP and a periodontal microscope, where a family dental practice usually would not.
For people with moderate to severe gum disease, laser treatments like LANAP are often the last chance to prevent tooth loss and extractions.
We also use soft tissue lasers for procedures like sleep apnea treatment (to remove excessive tissue and naturally open the airway) or after extractions. In the instance of tooth removal, the laser helps to disinfect and decontaminate the extraction sockets, so that the area heals more quickly or is more responsive to the placement of a dental implant.
LANAP Post-Care Instructions
The post-op (after care) instructions that you get after a LANAP laser treatment are similar to what you would expect from a routine deep cleaning, but with less disruption to the periodontal pockets.
Generally, you probably want to avoid brushing the area that was treated for a week or so. Any brushing after that should be done with an extra-soft manual toothbrush, without too much force to the area.
Although flossing is extremely important when it comes to gum health, Dr. Saunders will advise not flossing for a specific period of time while your body heals. Since there is new coagulation between the gums, bone, and teeth, we don’t want to disrupt that new attachment whatsoever.
During your surgical consultation and after laser treatment, we’ll provide you with a written set of home care instructions so that you don’t forget anything.
In some cases, we’ll also prescribe specific medications (like a special mouthwash) for you to use before and after the procedure to lower bacterial levels inside of your mouth. Be sure to take the medication as directed and always take antibiotics for the full course of the prescription (to reduce your chances of developing any type of drug resistant bacterial infection.)
When Would You Need LANAP?
We recommend LANAP and TwinLight laser gum treatments for periodontal pockets that are 5mm or deeper. More severe cases of periodontal disease usually involve detachment with pockets 7mm or more, which can be physically impossible to treat with conventional deep cleaning methods.
You would want to consider LANAP or TwinLight treatment if you had conventional gum disease therapy with your general dentist but did not respond as well as had hoped; or, if your gum disease is severe and you were referred to our practice for specialty care.
Dr. Saunders prefers using lasers to treat a majority of our gum disease cases because of the success that soft tissue laser therapy has on eradicating the infection and aiding in gum reattachment.
When we can physically decrease the depth of your gum pockets, we’re practically reversing the effects of gum disease. No other type of periodontal therapy can do that without reflecting the gums using conventual techniques! Since LANAP is scientifically proven to regenerate bone and aid in reattachment, it’s the best thing you can do to help prevent tooth loss caused by periodontitis.
Understanding Types of Dental Lasers
In dentistry, general dentists and periodontal specialists like Dr. Saunders use different types of lasers for various treatments. Some are made for hard-tissue procedures (like drill-free fillings) while others are for soft tissue therapy.
Two of the most popular types of dental lasers are Nd:YAG (neodymium crystal) and Er:Yag (erbium garnet). When you combine the two of them together, you get some of the best results possible. This is the theory behind the Fotona TwinLight laser. It’s a state of the art, next generation dental laser that combines both laser light beams into one piece of equipment.
While LANAP is a three-step process, using the Fotona TwinLight is a five-step process. It only takes a little bit more time to complete, but the results are even better when it comes to regenerating soft and hard tissue around the teeth.
Although different types of lasers do different things, they all essentially garner the power of a concentrated beam of light. When we’re able to narrow that beam into a tightly concentrated point, it’s possible to safely and effectively treat diseased tissues inside of the mouth without the same types of side effects you would see with an invasive oral surgery.
What to Expect the Day of Your Treatment
When we use a LANAP patented laser procedure, a small glass rod is slipped into your diseased gum pocket, literally evaporating the infectious bacteria inside of the pocket. Next, a traditional scaling and root planing procedure is performed to physically remove any buildup that’s remaining behind. Finally, the laser is used once more to trigger coagulation within the gum pocket. When this final step is performed, it’s what helps to physically connect the treated gum tissues back to the root surfaces of teeth.
With the Fotona TwinLight, Dr. Saunders treats the area in a similar manner but with a couple of extra steps. First, the Er:YAG (erbium) laser “opens” the pocket up and disrupts the outer layer of diseased tissues. It also removes some of the calculus (tartar) buildup from the tooth similar to a debridement. Next, the Nd:YAG (neodymium crystal) laser is used to help disrupt the treated outer layer of tissues so that they slough off, leaving healthy tissue underneath. Then a traditional deep cleaning is performed, but with the use of a 50x magnification periodontal microscope. This technology allows us to clean away bacteria that can’t be seen with the naked eye, until there’s none left on your teeth. Dr. Saunders then goes back with the Er:YAG laser to remove what we call the “smear layer” on the surface of each tooth. When we open up the tubules and the connective tissues inside of the pocket is prepped, the two “fall in love” with one another and a true connective tissue attachment is achieved which seals the pocket back up. The gentle wounding that the laser does to the supporting bone triggers coagulation, and thus facilitates better healing than other types of soft tissue laser therapy.
LANAP Providers: Periodontist vs. Dentist in Conroe
“Why should I see a Conroe periodontist for my LANAP treatment instead of my regular dentist,” you ask? Because Dr. Kip Saunders has been working with laser technology for almost as long as it has been in existence and was one of the first adopters of LANAP treatments in The Woodlands. The resources that we have on hand make it possible to go above and beyond routine dental care and provide the most innovative (and predictable) services to our patients.
When it comes to saving your smile, experts like Dr. Saunders know what works and what doesn’t; periodontists also have access to more resources (such as dental lasers and LANAP therapy) to do what’s best for the individual without worrying about whether they have the best technology on hand.
Although general dentists are able to provide effective care for early periodontal infections, they often have difficulty providing the resources needed to manage more aggressive stages of the disease. When bone loss is severe and periodontal pockets are deep, it can be physically impossible to clean or treat them without resources like periodontal microscopes and lasers.
Looking for Laser or LANAP Treatment in The Woodlands?
Visit Dr. Kip Saunders of The Woodlands. We proudly serve the greater Conroe and North Houston areas. With over 30 years of experience in periodontal care, Dr. Saunders has a deep understanding and commitment to providing the best methods for the most successful outcome, regardless of who steps through our front door.
For more information on Fotona TwinLight and LANAP laser dentistry for gum disease in Conroe, contact the office of Dr. Kip Saunders today to schedule a consultation!