How Is LANAP Different Than Traditional Gum Surgery?

If you have found yourself in need of periodontal surgery, you now have a choice between laser treatment and traditional surgery. While it may not initially seem like it, the distinctions are rather important. As with most things, a comprehensive understanding of each procedure is paramount for selecting the option that works best for you.

In the context of traditional surgery, a doctor will use a scalpel to move your gum tissue so they can reach the periodontal pocket. From there, the doctor will trim and suture your gums to make the pockets much shallower. After the pockets are cut, the doctor may have to graft bone or tissue to ensure that the gum and root surface are attached.

Fortunately, full-fledged periodontal surgery is typically only required in extreme cases. In reality, most patients will qualify for LANAP (Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure). This FDA-approved laser treatment is scientifically proven to promote full periodontal regeneration. As far as treatment is concerned, it is generally noninvasive and does not require sutures or a scalpel. Since the gums do not need to be cut, LANAP can usually be completed without causing the gums to recede. To this point, the laser used in the procedure is able to discern the difference between healthy tissue and diseased tissue. As one would expect, it leaves the healthy tissue alone while removing the latter and eliminating associated bacteria.

In regards to length, LANAP is extremely quick. The entire procedure can be completed in two 2-hour sessions, though many facilities will give you the option of undergoing the procedure in a single treatment.

Despite these relatively broad differences, there are a few more nuanced differences as well.

Gum Recession

As mentioned, a normal periodontal surgery requires the gum line to be cut in order to decrease the depth of the periodontal pockets. This usually results in gum line recession ranging between 2 and 4mm. However, if the patient has a severe case of periodontitis, expect the gum line to recede anywhere from 10 to 15mm.

A recessed gum line means that the underlying tooth roots are exposed. This will typically manifest as an increased sensitivity to hot and cold, which patients will typically notice while eating or drinking.

LANAP, on the other hand, is far less invasive. The laser gets rid of damaged tissue while leaving the surrounding bone and gum tissue intact. This successfully results in little to no impact on the gums whatsoever.


As most of us who have undergone any type of invasive procedure likely already know, surgery is very painful. If you have never undergone mouth surgery, just imagine how it must feel to have a scalpel slicing through your gums. Let’s put it this way, they don’t prescribe post-operative pain management medication for nothing. Additionally, underlining surgery means your body will have to spend a moderate amount of time recovering.

Unlike traditional surgery, LANAP is much more comfortable and does not typically necessitate post-operative medication. Additionally, recovery time is much shorter though still necessary due to the body’s need to heal itself. This allows most patients to return to their normal routine very quickly.


As mentioned, the LANAP protocol means no cutting or sutures are involved. Because the laser is so precise, the overall amount of healing time is drastically reduced. That’s because the laser itself eliminates bacteria and prevents inflammation, giving healthy tissue a much needed boost.

The Long Run

When it comes to long-term bone regeneration and tissue preservation, LANAP results are vastly more predictable. The dental laser used in the procedure provides stimulation to the surface of the root for enhanced regeneration. This gives particularly damaged teeth a fighting chance, promoting continued healing long after the procedure has been completed.

As a LANAP Certified facility, Pasadena Periodontics & Dental Implants has the technology and the skill required for successful LANAP protocol. Their team of experts will help you along every step of the way, providing exemplary service with first rate precision. If you are considering the procedure but are unsure if you qualify, stop in for a gum treatment consultation. Afterwards, you and the doctor can discuss any concerns you may have in regards to the procedure.

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