Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums, attachments and bone that surround and support the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums can become swollen and red, and they may bleed. In its more serious form (called periodontitis) the gums can pull away from the tooth and bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or even fall out. Periodontal disease is mostly seen in adults. Periodontal disease and tooth decay are the two biggest threats to dental health.
What is MyPerioPath?
What does it have to do with Periodontal Disease?
MyPerioPath is a diagnostic tool that identifies the type of bacteria and the concentration of the bacteria present in the saliva. Dentists and researchers have long known the specific bacteria known to cause periodontal disease so this tool gives us an idea of where each patient is and how to treat them. This makes periodontal disease treatment more personalized and allows for more predictable outcomes.
Researchers have discovered over 350 different species of microorganisms in the typical person’s healthy mouth. Less than 5% of these microorganism species are linked to periodontal disease infections. Research has also shown that these ” bad bacteria”, can be shared with your partner. So, if you , or your partner has progressive periodontal disease, you may both need to be checked and or treated with antibiotics.
Healthy and disease causing bacteria are usually grouped into two distinct categories:
1) Gram positive aerobic bacteria. These are harmless or helpful bacteria in the mouth.
2) Gram negative anaerobic bacteria. These are bacteria related to periodontal disease. When periodontal disease develops, the bacterial balance shifts over to these types of bacteria. Inflammation and injury cannot develop without these bacteria flourishing in the mouth.
Some of the bacteria most implicated in periodontal disease and bone loss include:
-Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans and Porphyromonas gingivalis. These two bacteria appear to be particularly likely to cause aggressive periodontal disease. Both P. gingivalis and A. actinomycetemcomitans, along with multiple deep pockets in the gum, are associated with resistance to standard treatments for gum disease. P. gingivalis may double the risk for serious gum disease. P. gingivalis produces enzymes, such as one called arginine-specific cysteine proteinase, that may disrupt the immune system and lead to subsequent periodontal connective tissue destruction.
-Bacteroides forsythus is also strongly linked to periodontal disease.
Other bacteria associated with periodontal disease are Treponema denticola, T. socranskii, and P. intermedia. These bacteria, together with P. gingivalis, are frequently present at the same sites, and are associated with deep periodontal pockets.
Some bacteria are related to gingivitis, but not plaque development. They include various streptococcal species.
How does MyPerioPath help personalize Periodontal Disease Treatment?
By knowing the exact bacteria and concentrations of each we are able to set up a treatment plan aimed at those specific bacteria. This can include the following treatment:
-Oral hygiene Instruction. Any dental treatment is doomed to fail without oral hygiene maintenance at home. Periodontal disease is progressive and will get worse without proper treatment and maintenance.
-Scaling and Root Planing. This treatment is also referred to as a deep cleaning. The goal of initial periodontal disease treatment is to remove the plaque and tartar buildup as well as to disinfect the mouth to lower the progress of periodontal disease. The removal of deep plaque and tartar, and smoothing of the root surface allows for healing and reattachment. This leads to healing and hopefully, reduced pocket depth.
-Periogen. Oral rinse for dissolving tartar buildup between professional cleanings. This oral rinse can lower the inflammatory process by removing some of the tartar and bacterial buildup in the mouth.
- Antibiotics. The test really shines in allowing the dentist to tailor a specific antibiotic regimen for each patient. The antibiotic used may be different for each patient depending on their bacteria types and levels. The antibiotic treatment will allow the bacteria levels to decrease dramatically thus halting the progress of the periodontal disease.
Other Tests Available for Periodontal Disease
There is another test available for testing periodontal disease called MyPerioID PST. Salivary DNA test that determines increased risk for severe periodontal infections. The MyPerioID PST test identifies individual genetic susceptibility to periodontal disease and allows the dentist to establish which patients are at increased risk for more severe periodontal infections due to an exaggerated immune response.
Is this periodontal disease test necessary for everyone? Probably not. It does come at a cost so it should only be utilized where necessary. For some patients, normal periodontal disease treatment is not enough and this test could help stave off periodontal disease progression and aide in more successful healing. Keeping regular dental visits as well as regular professional cleanings coupled with a good oral hygiene regimen at home is the perfect recipe for staving off periodontal disease.