Laser technology revolutionises gum disease treatments
Written by Linda Dailey Paulson
Gum disease is typically treated by dentists through an invasive and painful series of procedures. However, laser technology promises to provide patients with a less painful alternative to conventional treatments.
The Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP), which uses the PerioLase MVP-7, claims to be “the first and only specific laser periodontal protocol to receive FDA clearance.” It was originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of gum disease in 2004 and was later approved for treatment of oral disease in Canada, Europe and the U.K.
Dentists Robert H. Gregg II and Delwin K. McCarthy devised the procedure to treat moderate to severe periodontitis in 1990. The treatment uses the PerioLase MVP-7, which is a variable pulsed Nd:YAG dental laser. The fibre, which is roughly as thick as three human hairs, is inserted between the tooth and the gum where it is selectively used to eliminate infection and disease without cutting. Once the roots of the teeth are completely clean of any tartar or plaque, a different laser setting is reportedly used to seal and stabilise the pocket in the gum.
LANAP is most often used for treating gingivitis and periodontitis by removing decay and infection from the gum. It can also be used to reshape gum tissue; more specifically, it can be used to restore tissue and ligaments.
The protocol was evaluated during a three-year period by Professor Raymond A. Yukna, DMD, MS, and coordinator of post-graduate periodontics at Louisiana State University, School of Dentistry, New Orleans. The various studies found the treatment resulted in the formation of new root surface coating or cementum and new periodontal ligament tissue, which was reportedly the result of stimulating existing stem cells. The complete findings were ultimately published in the Proceedings of the International Association of Dental Research Meeting in 2004.
“Dentists have been looking for ways to regenerate some of the tissues lost to gum infections and Laser-ANAP is an exciting and revolutionary treatment protocol showing microscopically that we can form a new root coating (cementum) and new connective tissue attachment (collagen),” reported Yukna. “Our consistent results suggest that the best possible type of healing can be obtained using the specific Laser-ANAP protocol. This presents a wonderful alternative to traditional surgery.”
Proponents of the treatment say it is much more palatable for patients because it can be completed in a couple of brief sessions without cutting. The procedure is also able to preserve more healthy gum tissue with the added benefit of bone regeneration.
Another advantage for patients is a decreased risk of complications, which typically include sensitive teeth and receding gums. Dentists say that because patients are more at ease with this type of treatment – and because it is more cost effective – a patient will seek rather than avoid the care for gum disease he or she may need. Some studies have positively correlated the presence of periodontal disease to heart disease, diabetes and low birth weight in babies.
The LANAP procedure does not claim to completely cure gum disease. Proponents say it helps by eliminating both bacteria-infected tissue and various bacteria from the mouth. The teeth and gums can reportedly heal naturally once the bacterial infection is completely removed. However, the patient must adhere to preventive maintenance to eliminate the possibility of re-infection, which may include more frequent dental visits or adhering to a specific, preventative dental hygiene regime.
Dr Robert H. Gregg talks to the American Health Journal about the LANAP procedure:
Linda Dailey Paulson is the head journalist for Sunray Laser Equipment. She has been covering the medical and technology industries for over 20 years.
Introducing Dosis - the AI powered dosing platform
Cloud-based platform Dosis uses AI to help patients and clinicians tailor their medication plans. Shivrat Chhabra, CEO and co-founder, tells us how it works.
When and why was Dosis founded?
Divya, my co-founder and I founded Dosis in 2017 with the purpose of creating a personalised dosing platform. We see personalisation in so many aspects of our lives, but not in the amount of medication we receive. We came across some research at the University of Louisville that personalised the dosing of a class of drugs called ESAs that are used to treat chronic anaemia. We thought, if commercialised, this could greatly benefit the healthcare industry by introducing precision medicine to drug dosing.
The research also showed that by taking this personalised approach, less drugs were needed to achieve the same or better outcomes. That meant that patients were exposed to less medication, so there was a lower likelihood of side effects. It also meant that the cost of care was reduced.
What is the Strategic Anemia Advisor?
Dosis’s flagship product, Strategic Anemia Advisor (SAA), personalises the dosing of Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESAs). ESAs are a class of drugs used to treat chronic anaemia, a common complication of chronic kidney disease.
SAA takes into account a patient’s previous ESA doses and lab levels, determines the patient’s unique response to the drug and outputs an ESA dose recommendation to keep the patient within a specified therapeutic target range. Healthcare providers use SAA as a clinical decision support tool.
What else is Dosis working on?
In the near term, we are working on releasing a personalised dosing module for IV iron, another drug that’s used in tandem with ESAs to treat chronic anaemia. We’re also working on personalising the dosing for the three drugs used to treat Mineral Bone Disorder. We’re very excited to expand our platform to these new drugs.
What are Dosis' strategic goals for the next 2-3 years?
We strongly believe that personalised dosing will be the standard of care within the next decade, and we’re honored to be a part of making that future a reality. In the next few years, we see Dosis entering partnerships with other companies that operate within value-based care environments, where tools like ours that help reduce cost while maintaining or improving outcomes are extremely useful.
What do you think AI's greatest benefits to healthcare are?
If designed well, AI in healthcare allows for a practical and usable way to deploy solutions that would not be feasible otherwise. For example, it’s possible for someone to manually solve the mathematical equations necessary to personalise drug dosing, but it is just not practical. AI in healthcare offers an exciting path forward for implementing solutions that for so long have appeared impractical or impossible.