From original uses of virtual reality to revolutionary automatic toothbrushes, there is a whole lot of intriguing innovation going on right now in dentistry. One more to add to the mix is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved technique which its creator claims makes dentistry less invasive — and a whole lot less painful, too.
Referred to as the Laser-assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP) protocol, which makes it sound a bit like a 1970s espionage thriller, the technique involves using a dental laser cutter to remove diseased tissue between the teeth and the gums; killing germs that cause gum infections and leaving the healthy tissue intact and unharmed. That is especially important since gum disease is increasingly linked to systemic diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and more. Despite this — and despite 80 percent of U.S. adults suffering from some degree of gum disease — only three percent will accept the current treatment.
“Initially, we wanted to give patients hope for hopeless teeth — which then grew into salvation for these teeth,” Robert Gregg II, DDS, one of the dentists behind the technique, told Digital Trends. “Patients were ecstatic to keep their teeth. This need then led to the development of a protocol that would help ‘garden variety’ gum disease, as well as the most severe cases. After 10 years of research and studies to prove efficacy, patients who want to keep their teeth and refuse traditional osseous surgery have another option: A no cut, no sew, no fear-treatment approach.”
The idea of having a laser designed for cutting shone around your mouth may not seem like a recipe for no fear, but patients who have undergone LANAP surgery report experiencing very little in the way of discomfort. The technique eliminates the need for periodontal surgery, a highly invasive and often painful procedure which involves reshaping the gums to restore and regenerate normal form and function to the parts of the mouth which support the teeth. The majority of patients who undergo the LANAP surgery require no opioid level prescriptions afterward, experience faster healing times, and are even able to drive themselves home following the procedure.
We still cannot say that we’re excited about visiting the dentist, but maybe we’re not dreading it as much as we were before.
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