LANAP Q & A – Dr. Colin Richman

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Q: Who is a good candidate for LANAP (Non Surgical Periodontal Therapy/Treatment)?

A: LANAP is a treatment for “pockets” that are found in advancing gum disease. When gum tissues are healthy, there is a space about 2-3mm deep between the gum and the tooth. When plaque collects along the gum line, the gums get inflamed, and the tissues loosen up. The gap between the gum and tooth gets deeper, and the bone that supports the tooth is eaten away. This deeper space is called a “pocket”. A general guideline is that LANAP is appropriate to treat pockets that are 5mm deep (or deeper), especially if accompanied by bleeding gums.

Three categories of patients could benefit from LANAP.  These include:

  • If your dentist/hygienist has told you that you have some 5, 6, 7mm pockets (or deeper), or has suggested you may need gum surgery – LANAP is likely to be an ideal approach to treating the problem.
  • If you haven’t been to a dentist for awhile, but your gums bleed easily, you have bad breath, or your teeth are shifting or loose, these are all potential signs of gum disease, and you should have a periodontal exam as soon as possible.
  • Periodontal disease is linked to a number of serious health issues. If you are at high risk for heart disease, are diabetic or are pregnant, and have not been to the dentist recently, you should have a periodontal exam. Prior to starting chemotherapy, radiation, or bisphosphonate medications, you should be screened for infections, including chronic periodontal diseases.

Removing oral infection and inflammation BEFORE starting medical treatment is essential.  Simplified non invasive screening is achieved through, a simple saliva test for the bacteria that cause dental infections and periodontal disease.  Once diagnosed, appropriate antibiotics, and LANAP therapy is  the latest FDA approved treatment for definitive treatment of periodontal disease.

Q: How has this changed how you treat periodontal disease?

A: LANAP has changed the way we treat periodontal disease.  Previously a surgical strategy was utilized.  This is extremely predictable and successful but can be uncomfortable for the patient post treatment, in the short term.   Today, the LANAP protocol is utilized extensively by progressive periodontists, and results in a very much more comfortable post treatment course, with the same degree of long-term predictability.

Q:  How soon will I be able to get back to work/school following the procedure?

A:  Most people are able to return to work/school the next day or two following their dental procedure. There will be minor bruising or swelling associated with the surgery.

Q:  What types of activities can I participate in after surgery?

A:  You can participate in your routine daily activities. However, physical activities that raise your blood pressure should be avoided for 4-5 days after surgery.

Q:  What can I expect after surgery?

A:  Relative to dietary restrictions, a soft diet should be followed for seven days after surgery. Thereafter, a normal diet can be followed.

Q:  Why I have I been referred specifically to a periodontal office?

A:  Periodontists focus exclusively on the treatment and prevention of gum, jaw bone, tooth roots, and dental implant concepts. Your dental issues are probably advanced or advancing and thus you were referred for more advanced specialized care. (As an analogy, people with advancing heart disease are referred to a Cardiologist).

Q:   Why do I need yearly x rays? What is the risk associated with taking x rays?

A:  Yearly x rays allow us to view the bone, gums, and teeth for any dental issues. A standard routine full mouth series (FMX) of x rays should be obtained every 3-5 years, while bitewing x rays should be taken once a year.

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Contact Dr. Richman at 404/784-7272 or for more information on his various courses or to register for a course.