Create your best smile with laser dentistry.
What do you think of when you hear the word “smile”? For most of us, “smile” conjures images of teeth on full display, expressing our happiness, friendliness, or thanks. While your teeth may be the stars of your smile, they can’t shine in their lead role without the health of a key supporting actor—your gums.
Also known as gingiva, your gums are composed of the soft tissue lining that shapes your smile’s appearance and snuggly seals your teeth (or dental implants) in place. Alongside protecting the ridges of your jawbone and the roots of your teeth, your gums act as a barrier from bacterial infections and the friction that’s created from chewing. While healthy gums keep this protective barrier intact, gums that have become afflicted with periodontal (gum) disease or peri-implantitis will gradually lose their ability to resist bacterial infection and hold your teeth or dental implants securely in place.
How a Laser Can Change Your Smile
Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP) and Laser-Assisted Peri-Implantitis Procedure (LAPIP) are minimally invasive oral surgery techniques that are performed by a specially trained periodontist or dentist. Using a dental laser (called the PerioLase MVP-7) that has seven variable settings, LANAP and LAPIP are able to achieve specific soft tissue interactions and treatment outcomes. Put another way, LANAP and LAPIP are programmed to target diseased or excess tissue while preserving tissue that’s essential and healthy.
Alongside removing unhealthy or excess tissue, LANAP is the only FDA-cleared laser treatment that has been scientifically proven to regenerate soft and hard oral tissues—including the periodontal ligament, cementum, gums, and alveolar bone—after they’ve been lost to periodontal or peri-implant diseases.
So whether you are experiencing periodontitis or peri-implantitis or simply want to enhance the appearance of a “gummy smile,” laser dentistry can help you safely create a resilient smile that’s both beautiful and healthy.
Laser Periotherapy for Periodontal Disease and Peri-Implantitis
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease affects over 50% of Americans over 30 and is typically caused by a buildup of plaque (the sticky film of bacteria that continuously forms on the surface of your teeth). Great oral health habits—like twice-annual dental visits, daily brushing and flossing, and smoking abstinence—are usually enough to prevent inflammation and disrupt plaque formation. But if not removed properly, plaque can harden along and below the gumline, forming a hard, crusty, and unsightly deposit known as tartar (or dental calculus). Tartar, which can only be removed by your dentist, continually irritates your gum tissue and provokes the inflammation that causes acute inflammation (known as gingivitis) and chronic inflammation (known as periodontitis).
When left untreated, periodontitis causes your gum tissue to recede and pull away from your teeth, undermining the support your teeth need to stay in place. Alongside detracting from your smile’s appearance, periodontitis can spread into your teeth’s periodontal ligaments and jawbone (known collectively as the periodontium) and put you at risk for losing one or more teeth.
What is peri-implant disease?
An inflammatory condition akin to periodontal disease, peri-implant diseases result from the buildup of oral bacteria along and below the gumline where an implant has been placed. Poor oral hygiene, along with smoking and diabetes, are the strongest risk factors for developing a peri-implant disease.
While the first stage of peri-implant disease (known as peri-implant mucositis) only affects the soft tissues around a dental implant, the advanced stage of peri-implant disease (known as peri-implantitis) also causes deterioration of the bone that’s essential for supporting a dental implant. When left untreated, peri-implantitis can have dire consequences, including bone loss and ultimately the loss of your implant investment.
How do LANAP and LAPIP treat periodontal disease and peri-implantitis?
During LANAP or LAPIP periotherapy, your periodontist or dentist will provide you with local anesthesia and will gently guide the laser’s fiber between your gums and teeth or dental implants. The laser fiber, which is about the width of three human hairs, then removes the infected and diseased tissue—all without cutting, removing, or damaging healthy gum tissue.
Once the diseased tissue has been removed, your periodontist will detach any tartar deposits from the surface of your teeth while flushing out the pockets with an antibacterial rinse. The laser will then be applied a second time to remove tartar debris and sterilize the root, bone, and soft tissue surrounding your teeth or implant.
Alongside disinfecting the hard and soft tissues around your teeth, this second application provides the desirable benefit of promoting healing and tissue regeneration by prompting the blood to clot and sealing the freshly cleaned surgical sites. With proper follow-up care, LANAP and LAPIP can slow or stop attachment loss, decrease pocket depth, promote bone regeneration, and support the body in recovering from chronic infection. For most patients, LANAP and LAPIP accomplishes a more comfortable treatment experience than conventional and restored oral health, function, and beauty.
How do LANAP and LAPIP differ from conventional periodontal surgery?
As it requires cutting and suturing the mouth’s delicate soft tissues, conventional periodontal surgery provides two undesirable outcomes: reducing a patient’s gumline and causing an often painful postoperative experience. Additionally, conventional treatment of peri-implant disease often requires bone grafting to support an implant that’s failing.
Alongside providing more predictable results, the greatest evidence-based advantages of LANAP and LAPIP are their ability to preserve healthy tissue while promoting reattachment and tissue regeneration.
Your gums dramatically impact your smile’s overall appearance. For some patients, smiling reveals a higher proportion of gum tissue under the upper lip (known as excessive gingival display or a “gummy smile”), which can make the smile appear uneven or imbalanced. If you feel like your smile reveals more gums than teeth, your dentist can transform your smile’s appearance with gum contouring.
Gum contouring is a minimally invasive cosmetic treatment with a limited recovery time. Using a dental laser, your dentist will precisely sculpt your gum tissue to your desired appearance and leave you with a smile that’s beautifully even and balanced.
Your gums are the foundation of your smile’s health, longevity, and beauty. To learn more about how you can achieve your healthiest and most beautiful smile with laser dentistry, contact our office to schedule an appointment today.