Non-Surgical Periodontic Treatment

By now, most people have heard about the “Oral-Systemic Link” between oral health and overall physical health. Scientific studies strongly suggest that periodontal disease may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and birth complications.

The staff of Great Smile Dental are specially trained to treat all levels of periodontal disease. Dr. Glickman studied with notable clinicians and researchers, Dr. Paul H. Keyes, formerly of the National Institute of Dental Research and Dr. Jorgen Slots, of USC, who promote conservative therapies to treat periodontal disease and avoid the need for conventional surgery when possible. Dr. Glickman and her team have more than two decades of success with the methods they use. Drs. Glickman and Findlay and their hygienists use specialized testing to diagnose and stage periodontal disease, and then provide very effective, conservative treatments as an alternative to periodontal flap surgery.

An early step in diagnosing and treating periodontal disease is discovering the types of bacteria that are playing a role in the destructive infection. The professionals at GSD take the extra step and use two informative diagnostic tests that most dental offices don’t:

  • Phase-contrast microscopy
  • Oral bacterial DNA testing

We use a phase contrast microscope to instantly view bacterial plaque at 1000x magnification. Healthy bacteria and harmful bacteria look different under the microscope, and these bacteria look different than red or white blood cells or amoebae, all of which paint a detailed picture of the patient’s periodontal health. With phase contrast microscopy and a monitor, patients can see for themselves whether the kinds of bacteria that are living in their mouths are likely to cause gum and other health problems.  Because periodontal (gum) disease is a common bacterial infection, we routinely sample all our patients for this testing to determine the presence of disease-associated bacteria. In this non-invasive, quick and painless procedure, we obtain a sample of the bacteria growing under the gum line and place it on a glass slide for viewing. 

Because periodontal (gum) disease is a common bacterial infection, we routinely sample all our patients for this testing to determine the presence of disease-associated bacteria. In this non-invasive, quick and painless procedure, we obtain a sample of the bacteria growing under the gum line and place it on a glass slide for viewing.

Oral bacterial DNA testing is a simple saliva test which provides very specific information about the periodontal pathogens present. The patient’s saliva sample is sent to a highly specialized diagnostic laboratory for analysis, and the results are returned to the office within a two week period. This testing is often used at GSD for more severe cases of periodontal disease and/or in cases that do not respond adequately to our non-surgical therapies. The results of both of these tests, along with the conventional diagnostic information collected during the periodontal exam (periodontal pocket depths, bleeding score, radiographs, mobility and visual appearance of tissues) are used to customize a treatment plan and homecare recommendations. We can then test again after treatment, as a follow-up, to measure successful infection elimination.

Once we have fully diagnosed the periodontal condition of our patient and determined that periodontal disease is present, we have several options for therapy. Your personal periodontal therapy may include:

  • Scaling and root-planing (a careful cleaning of the root surfaces by the hygienist to remove plaque and calculus [tartar] from deep periodontal pockets and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins), followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials under the gums.
  • Perio Protect™ trays to deliver antimicrobial gel deep under the gums twice or more times per day for 5-15 min depending on the severity of the infection.
  • Specially designed homecare regimens that may include brushing with antimicrobial toothpaste, therapeutic ozonated oil or gingival irrigation with an antimicrobial solution.
  • Dietary counseling and other host modulating improvements, like the recommendation for supportive dietary supplements.

All active therapies are closely monitored to ensure that healing from and elimination of the periodontal infection is occurring. Once the infection is controlled and health is established, we regularly monitor to make sure that the infection does not return.

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