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New dental procedure can make visit less painful

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ATLANTA -

When we think about the dentist, most of us automatically think about pain, but a new no-cut gum procedure may take some of the sting out of your next visit.

Florence Lee, 78, had traditional surgery for periodontitis years ago and had a bad experience.

The procedure involves cutting into the gums and removing bacteria that can lead to bone loss. So when Florence was told she needed to get treated again, she was fearful.

"I had pain during the procedure, I had pain after the procedure and I was frightened," Lee said.

Lucky for her, there's an alternative called Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP).   Doctors place a tiny fiber inside the area between the gum and the tooth, called the pocket.

"What it does it is targets specifically the inflamed tissue, the infected tissue and the bacteria associated with causing the periodontal destruction," said Dr. Sam Morheim.

Morheim said patients come in for two visits, which last two hours each. Traditional surgery takes four or more sessions. Other benefits include: no cutting or sutures, reduced pain and less swelling and sensitivity.

"We're starting to see regeneration of the lost tissues, which is very exciting for us because now we can offer technology that is super conservative compared to our conventional means with less downtime," said Morheim.

Florence said she didn't have any pain with the laser and was able to drive herself home afterwards because patients only need local anesthesia.

"I would recommend anyone who was having perio and fearful of it would have laser and not any other procedure," Lee said.

Insurance covers this procedure and we found a half-dozen metro Atlanta dentists using it. 

If you would like to read more about LANAP or find a provider here in Georgia, go to: http://www.lanap.com/lanaplocator/index.php

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