It is estimated that nearly half of the 200 million adults in the United States suffer from periodontal disease. Of these 100 million people, less than 3% receive conventional periodontal treatment! Why is that? For starters, many people simply do not know they have the disease. Others have been told, but when they hear that, they do not believe the dentist/hygienist/periodontist. After all, periodontal disease is rarely painful. Others know, but are afraid to act; they have heard “stories” and are afraid. Sometimes, they fear that treatment will be expensive, not realizing that delay often leads to more disease and tooth loss and that replacing lost teeth is where the big expenses in dentistry are found. More often, they fear that periodontal treatment will hurt or will involve painful surgical procedures that will leave them with long-looking, loose, sensitive teeth that are prone to reinfection and decay. Oftentimes, patients will only accept the most conservative of treatments, which may not always restore them to maintainable health.
It has been said that the body heals best when treated once, but treated well! Repeated procedures usually do not result in the same kind of healing as when the diseased tissues are treated optimally the first time. Dental laser treatment has been advocated to treat periodontal disease, but not all dental lasers are the same. LANAP, or Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure, is the first full mouth, minimally-invasive treatment for treating periodontal disease. It utilizes a specific FDA-cleared Nd-YAG laser, in a specific, patented protocol. It uses laser light energy to gently remove harmful bacteria and diseased tissue from the gum pocket, while generally sparing healthy, non-involved tissues. This allows the body to heal naturally so that the gum pockets become shallower and the teeth become more stable. The procedure is dramatically less traumatic than conventional periodontal surgery because there is no cutting of tissues with a scalpel and no suturing (stitching) afterwards. Little healthy tissue is removed, resulting in less exposure of sensitive roots and gum recession. To be successful, traumatic bite forces must be meticulously adjusted, resulting in a more even, comfortable bite. In many cases, bone-loss reversal occurs to some degree, sometimes significantly. In fact, it may even be possible to reverse enough bone damage to make a near-hopeless tooth healthy and functional again! Preventing tooth loss ultimately saves the patient a tremendous amount of money and aggravation. In certain types of cases, the costs of removing, replacing and restoring one tooth with a dental implant, can equal or exceed the cost of treating the entire dentition with LANAP.
Minimally invasive surgical procedures are rapidly becoming the norm in medicine. Now dentistry has an effective, minimally invasive method for treating periodontal disease. Dr. Melnyk is the first dental specialist in Central New York to be certified in LANAP and is now making it available to his patients.