Do you have an LANAP (laser-assisted new attachment procedure) scheduled, or has your dental professional talked to you about having this treatment done? If yes, you are probably wondering what to expect during the procedure and after.
What exactly is the LANAP procedure?
Some procedures that were once painful, costly and came with a long recovery period can now be done safely, less expensively, and with little to no down time.
The LANAP is performed to treat periodontitis, an inflammation and/or infection of the gums. By using a specialized laser, your dental professional can selectively remove diseased or infected gum tissue. An FDA-approved treatment, LANAP is done using a laser that was invented specifically for this procedure.
By using a laser, your gum tissue is able to regenerate, or heal itself. Since no incisions are made, the area treated is able to heal quickly. The likelihood of your gum disease returning is much less than when the procedure was performed with traditional gum surgery using scalpels and sutures.
What to expect after the procedure
Since there are no incisions involved with LANAP, the recovery time is minimal. Don’t be alarmed if you experience the following with your gums as they heal:
- Color changes
- Oozing of blood
It is normal for the appearance and/or color of your gums to change following laser treatment. They may look stringy to you, and the color can be red, blue, purple, white or even gray. This is normal.
You may notice some blood in your saliva. Putting pressure on the area should stop the bleeding. A gentle rinse with ice water or a tea bag placed on the area should take care of the problem. If you have any questions or concerns about bleeding, be sure to call your dentist.
Soreness is common and over-the-counter medications and/or prescription pain medicine – if prescribed for you – should control the pain and help cut down on swelling. An ice pack on the outside of your face should keep the swelling down. Use it for 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off throughout the first 24 hours, as needed. Contact your dentist if the swelling persists.
Care of your mouth following LANAP
Following the LANAP procedure, rest with your head elevated, and limit your activities for the first 24 hours.
- Keep your mouth clean
- No brushing or flossing the treated area!
- Gently rinse your mouth after eating
It is important to keep your mouth clean following a LANAP. The day following surgery you can continue to brush and floss the teeth that were not treated. Gently rinse and spit with a rinse that your dentist will recommend. You can use a salt water rinse as well, using one-half teaspoon of salt dissolved in eight ounces of warm water.
Avoid the use of any tobacco products as they may delay healing.
What to eat?
A soft or mushy diet is recommended following your procedure. Broth, eggs, mashed or baked potatoes, mashed fruit (with no seeds) and milk shakes are good choices. Avoid candy, salads, raw vegetables and nuts for six to eight weeks following the LANAP. Stay away from any food that could get lodged under your gum or between your teeth. Do not chew gum.
When to call your dentist
If you are worried about the progress of your gums healing, do not hesitate to call your dentist and make sure you call your dental professionals if you experience any of the following.
- Elevated temperature
- Excessive or prolonged bleeding
- Severe pain, or if your pain lasts longer than expected