Say Ah! Local dentist offers laser alternative for treating gum disease

Date Published: 
February 4, 2011

As innovation strikes the medical world, new procedures and methods are helping doctors care for patients, quickly and more efficiently, and dentistry is no exception. One of the most advanced technologies in the dental field is a gum disease treatment, and Bethany Dental Associates is currently the only practice in the area to offer it. Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure, or LANAP, offers an alternative to conventional treatment for gum disease, the number one cause of tooth loss among American adults.

“It’s a practice I learned from some colleagues of mine back up in Pennsylvania,” noted Bradford Klassman, D.M.D. of Bethany Dental Associates. “The results from LANAP compared to traditional gum disease treatment are like night and day, in post-operative sensitivity, overall pain and in the dental results. Years ago, correcting gum disease required a scalpel and sutures. What we offer is noninvasive. I compare it to the leaps that have been made in eye surgery. We use lasers to do the job painlessly and quickly.”

Prior to the progress toward LANAP treatment, patients diagnosed with moderate to severe gum disease would undergo an uncomfortable tissue removing-procedure that required the gums to be lacerated in order for tartar to be scraped from the roots. Drills would then be used to reshape bone, and the gums would be repositioned to the tooth with stitches, sometimes requiring bone grafts. The process could be lengthy, requiring up to eight appointments versus two treatment appointments for LANAP.

The new, laser treatment for gum disease, performed under local anesthesia, uses a tiny laser fiber, approximately the thickness of three human hairs, to clear away the infection and disease between the gum and tooth, without cutting the gums. Tooth roots are thoroughly cleaned of tartar and plaque, and the laser is then used with a different setting to create a stable, firm fibrin blood clot to seal the pocket. Periodontists treat half of the patient’s mouth in each session, and the patient is able to drive themselves back to work or home following the procedure. A soft diet for the next several days is typically recommended.

“I am always looking to provide my patients with treatment options that will be safe, effective and minimally invasive and help them get back to their lives faster, Klassman noted, who has been using the LANAP procedure in his office for the past several months. “The feedback is phenomenal from patients who have had the treatment. I firmly believe that by reducing post-operative pain, the number of sessions required and the recovery time, LANAP removes many of the reasons why so many patients hesitate to seek treatment for gum disease and helps me provide the best possible dental care for my patients.”

Experts have found that gum disease is one of the most common medical infections in the country, with 50 out of 100 adult Americans experiencing moderate to severe gum disease. According to statistics, 40 of those 50 don’t even realize it, and fewer than two will actually get treated before it’s too late. In the initial stages of gum disease, gums can become red, swollen and bleed easily, but some patients show no symptoms at all. If conditions worsen, gums and bone that support the teeth can become seriously damaged and the teeth can become loose, fall out, or have to be removed.

Dentists who perform LANAP are required to complete a Laser BootCamp, a comprehensive three-day, clinical, hands-on, dentist-to-dentist training at the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry (IALD). For more information about the LANAP procedure visit www.millenniumdental.com/patwelcome.html. Periodontal disease treatment is covered by most insurance carriers. Additional testimonials and information, including video of LANAP procedures, are readily available on YouTube.com.