We’ve talked to you at length about the importance of getting your gum disease treated – not only to save your smile but also because of the very real consequences leaving it unchecked can have on your total health.

After education comes the decision-making time – how will you address gum disease? If you’ve seen a doctor and been diagnosed, you know that “doing nothing” is not going to make the problem resolve itself. You have a handful of options with regards to surgery, but more and more patients are opting for laser gum disease treatment because of its minimally invasive nature. Laser gum disease treatment is an alternative to painful methods that may require extensive pain management and downtime.

If you’ve decided to seek laser gum disease treatment as your method of improving your oral health, it’s very important you realize that not all laser treatments are created equal. There are a handful of critical yet simple laser dental treatment FAQs you can ask your dental professional to make sure you’re getting the most out of your treatment.

Is laser gum disease treatment as effective as traditional surgery?

Depending on the laser surgery method used, a minimally invasive laser treatment can be just as effective if not more so than traditional surgery, which involves cutting and sewing of the gums as well as the introduction of foreign materials (materials may include pig and cow bones). With the LANAP treatment, for example, patients can be assured that the FDA has cleared the treatment for the regeneration of bone and gum tissue lost to gum disease – meaning that it stimulates your own body to grow back what its lost, like a lizard would grow back its tail after losing it. This treatment is the only dental laser procedure with scientific proof backing the claim of regeneration.

Are all laser treatments for gum disease the same?

Simply put – no. Think about your smartphone, and then think about a friend of yours who has a similar type of phone but not the same brand. These phones cannot do the same things because the technology behind them varies. When it comes to dental lasers, they share technology in common, but things like wavelengths and laser types vary – and it’s important that the laser your dentist uses is the “right” wavelength for the procedure. For example, the PerioLase MVP-7 is a 6-watt free-running, variable pulsed Nd:YAG dental laser and is the only one that has been FDA cleared to perform the LANAP protocol. Its 1064nm wavelength basically means it doesn’t harm healthy tissue but is able to interact with the blood and kill bacteria. Other lasers may cut the enamel on your teeth or be less precise when sparing healthy tissue.

What is the name of the laser treatment you perform?

As laser dentistry has become more widely used for the treatment of various oral health issues, the amount of devices that perform these treatments and their respective names has also grown. While any number of dental lasers can be used to treat things like gingivectomies and the removal of fibromas and hemangiomas, LANAP specifically refers to a treatment for gum disease. This treatment protocol was created solely for that purpose and is backed by over 600 pages of scientific research. Several other companies have begun claiming that their laser can also perform LANAP in the sense that LANAP has become sort of a blanket term for laser gum disease treatment. However, you’ll want to make sure that the treatment you’re receiving is actually LANAP and not a similar procedure using a device other than the PerioLase, as it is the only one backed by the science proving regeneration.

What training did you receive to perform this laser treatment?

Another question to ask your dentist is what kind of training they received using their laser or performing a specific laser treatment. In the case of gum disease treatment, LANAP practitioners are required to receive intensive, hands-on training from The Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry over the course of a year. Before the PerioLase is even shipped to the clinician’s office, he or she must complete the first three sessions, or “evolutions” of training. This is crucial, because no one else teaches doctors who to do the LANAP treatment. Some laser companies don’t require their customers to receive training at all, or if they do, it may be very limited in scope, because there is no standardized requirement in dentistry.

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Now that you are armed with these laser dental treatment FAQs, you can confidently walk into your dentist’s office ready to get the information to make the best decision for you.