By Lee R. Cohen, D.D.S., M.S., M.S. –
Many of us have been told by the dentist and the hygienist that we have developed “deep pockets” or experienced bone loss around our teeth. These comments often trigger fear related to losing teeth and the pain associated with treatment. Although traditional periodontal surgery to treat these issues can often be performed in a painless fashion, the fear of pain often causes patients to hold off on seeking treatment.
Fortunately, treatment of periodontal disease (gum and bone loss) can be performed with a FDA approved therapy called LANAP. LANAP, or Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure, is a patented protocol that allows for advanced treatment of periodontal disease without the use of a scalpel or sutures. Specific training and equipment are needed to perform the LANAP procedure.
Goal of Periodontal Therapy
Healthy gums typically rest very close to its underlying bone. As the disease worsens, the bone deteriorates. This deterioration is seen by a deepening of the space between the gum and bone. The goal of periodontal therapy is to help restore health to the affected area. This is typically achieved by shrinking the deep space that develops below the gum tissue down to the bone level. In this deep space, aggressive bacteria can hide and cause continued destruction of the bone.
LANAP therapy does not involve any cutting. A laser tip, the size of the periodontal probe the hygienist measures your gums with, is inserted along the tooth. The light released is absorbed by diseased tissue causing it to vaporize. The area is subsequently scaled and planed (deep cleaned to remove tartar deposits) and then tiny clots are formed in the small space between the tooth and gum. These clots help rebuild tissue (and in some cases bone) therefore reducing the space between the gum and bone. This specific laser treatment has also been shown to be effective around implants that are losing bone.
Both surgical and LANAP procedures help reduce the space between the gum and bone, but achieve them in an entirely different way. Neither option can guarantee success. A significant difference with the LANAP approach is the ability to treat the area without traditional surgical techniques. Since the procedure is performed without a scalpel or sutures, pain medication is not needed. In fact, there is no more post-treatment discomfort than would occur with a deep cleaning. LANAP is not indicated in all situations and a thorough periodontal evaluation and current x-rays are needed to determine your ideal treatment options.
Traditional surgery often involves opening the area, cleaning out the site and closing (stitching) the gum tissue closer to the bone. This procedure is effective, but typically leaves the tooth much more exposed (or longer looking) due to moving the gum tissue higher on the tooth and nearer to the bone.
Lee R. Cohen, D.D.S., M.S., M.S., is a Dual Board Certified Periodontal and Dental Implant Surgeon. He is a graduate of Emory University and New York University College of Dentistry.
Dr. Cohen completed his surgical training at the University of Florida / Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. He served as Chief Resident and currently holds a staff appointment as a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Periodontics and Dental Implantology. Dr. Cohen lectures, teaches and performs clinical research on topics related to his surgical specialty.
The focus of his interests are conservative approaches to treating gum, bone and tooth loss. He utilizes advanced techniques including the use of the Periolase Dental Laser (LANAP procedure) to help save teeth and treat periodontal disease without the use of traditional surgical procedures. Additionally, he uses in-office, state of the art 3D CT imaging to develop the least invasive dental implant and bone regeneration treatment options. Dr. Cohen and his facility are state certified to perform both IV and Oral Sedation procedures.
Dr. Cohen currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the American Academy of Periodontology and the Florida Dental Association. He is past president of the Florida Association of Periodontists and the Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. In addition, Dr. Cohen has been awarded Fellowship in the American College of Dentists, International College of Dentists and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.
Lee R. Cohen, D.D.S., M.S., M.S.
4520 Donald Ross Road, Suite 110
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418