Laser vs Gum Surgery

Also known as Flap Surgery is an alternative to Laser Periodontal Treatment LANAP.


The difference between Flap and Lanap is that in Lanap no scalpels are used and no sutures need to be placed, no gum pack needs to be placed (except for smokers), and no foreign materials need to be placed.

One of the foreign materials that is placed during traditional Osseous Surgery and NOT in LANAP is Emdogain, a substance derived from Swedish baby pigs.

Another are Bone Grafts. Bone Grafts are derived from different things such as Cadavers (dead people) Bovine (Cow), Porcine (Pig) Arestin (antibiotic Minociclin)

Neither Bone Grafts nor Emdogain are needed when doing laser surgery.

How much pain will I have with Gum Surgery?
My biggest shock while doing LANAP has been the minimal amount of pain the patients experienced after the surgery. I have been a dentist for over 20 years and have done surgeries in the past with scalpels and Electrosurg units. After using the Electrosurg on small areas patients would report extreme pain the next day. So after I started doing LANAP I expected to hear the patients screaming with pain, for it is a very invasive surgery, but when I would ask them the next day and next week “How much pain are you in on a scale of 1-10″ they would say about a 2. Now for everything I knew they should have been in extreme pain (9 or 10). But No! Some would even say 0. So I researched the subject and it turns out that the laser singes the nerve endings and does not allow the pain response to be registered.

Here is a patient that went through traditional Flap Osseous Surgery on top and Laser on the bottom. I asked him to relate his experience.


Here is another patient that previously had had Traditional gum Surgery on only one tooth then she had full mouth LANAP done and she relates her experience.


This is a video showing traditional Flap and Osseous Surgery. It is this dentists opinion that this service is antiquated. This procedure is very common and is considered the standard of care see ADA position.


This is a video of a LANAP laser procedure being done so you can compare this minimally invasive procedure with the scalpel and suture alternative.


Here is another video showing the traditional Periodontal Flap Surgery some periodontists still continue using this techinique to this day for periodontal disease.


Even though this video is old it is considered standard of care for traditional flap and Osseous Periodontal Surgery. In the opinion of this clinician this procedure is antiquated in light of the laser alternative. 


Gum graft surgery is not the same surgery nor is it anywhere near as painful as gum surgery that is needed for deep pockets. click on the link regarding gum grafting for more information regarding gum grafting surgery.

Here is another dentist that is doing the laser gum procedure LANAP. This Doctor talks about the diferece between the old way of treating gum disease with surgery and says the laser is a better alternative to gum surgery without the pain.


The Politics of LANAP
Why are less than 1% of dentists using lasers for the treatment of Periodontal Disease?

This is a good question.  I too am shocked to know that 0.6% of dentists have adopted LANAP as a treatment alternative to traditional Flap and Osseous Surgery.  The FDA clarence is now over 7 years old and says in lay terms that the laser can reverse gum disease.  You would think that after LANAP being in the literature for over 12 years (see AAP statement  notice it is the only statement without a date the actual date is 1999 a ten year old statement in a profession that is less than 100 years old) the powers that be would have some evidence in the literature or science to disprove what all dentists that have done LANAP, state and affirm? ADA position on lasers.

Another concern is the cost of the laser. I have debated this idea on several dental forums and the response has been “Why should I buy an expensive machine if I can purchase a scalpel blade for less than a dollar?”

This is true the laser is expensive I tell my patients that my laser costs more than 3x what I paid for my car (it’s a Jag). That is an argument that you as the patient should consider.  “Has my dentist or Periodontist invested in the latest technology?”  If they have not then that is their choice and you too have a choice as to what you would want in your own mouth.

I have placed videos of people who have had both procedures done on themselves and have given their testimonial as to the difference.

This was the key note speaker a Cardiologist that was voted by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the word.


It is our hope that you have a positive experience. If you have any questions, we urge you to call our office. If it is after hours,  Dr. McAllister will be located 24 hours by calling (562) 869-0928

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