Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that negatively affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bone loss, tooth mobility and the loss of teeth. The disease is inflammatory and infectious.
It is important to know which bacteria are causing the periodontal disease so that it can be combated appropriately. Microbiological testing identifies exactly which bacteria are causing the infection, along with the levels that are present. Knowing the causative type and level at any given time enables us to treat the cause of the disease, rather than just its symptoms. It also helps us assess the potential for gum, bone and tooth loss, and it can assist us in monitoring implant sites.
The microbiological testing we use from Hain Diagnostics (micro-IDent®plus) "detects quality and quantity of 11 periodontopathogenic species and their affiliation to so-called 'bacterial complexes'." The test improves patient care as it gives us specific information to help:
- Clarify our clinical findings by accurately identifing bacterial types and levels
- Diagnose and develop appropriate individualized treatment plans and follow-up schedules
- Provide excellent documentation for patient progress
How the Test Sample Is Taken
A clinician inserts a small "paper point" (similar in size to a very small toothpick) into the area of the gum felt to be infected. After leaving the paper point in the area for approximately 10 seconds to allow it to absorb the necessary sample material, the paper point is placed in a small vial and forwarded to the laboratory. Through the use of DNA technology, the samples are analyzed and a laboratory report is forwarded to us.
The Test Results
The single-page laboratory report has a user-friendly format that shows the molecular DNA type and levels of the pathogens (bacteria) as "Negative," "Low," "Moderate" or "High." Moderate or high bacteria levels are indicative of advancing disease. A negative result may be indicative of good oral health. The results of the test are explained to you.