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Periodontal disease: Tipping the balance in the patients' favor

Dec. 5, 2016
Richard H. Nagelberg, DDS, says the way to tip the balance in your perio patients’ favor is by knowing the exact bacteria you are trying to control—for each individual patient. Read more about how salivary diagnostics can make a difference in how effectively you treat your patients who have periodontal disease in the DentistryIQ blog, “Making the Oral-Systemic Connection.”
The way to tip the balance in the patients’ favor begins by knowing what it is you, as a clinician, are trying to control—specifically for each individual perio patient. Knowing the exact bacteria that is causing each patient’s case of periodontal disease is an enormous advantage; it allows the clinician to address the cause. When we undertake periodontal therapy blindly—without knowing what we are fighting—the only metrics we have are the pocket numbers, bleeding on probing (BOP), tissue tone, and color. With that we are only addressing the manifestation of the disease—the clinical signs—rather than treating the heart of the gingival infection.

When we identify the bacterial cause of a specific case of periodontal disease, we have real metrics when we compare the results of pre-op and post-op testing. You can hold the metrics in your hand, literally, in the form of the test reports. One of the advantages of salivary diagnostics is the impact this technology has on developing an individualized treatment plan for each patient, contrary to seeing some 5 mm pockets and just scraping and hoping for the best. More on this to come.


Richard H. Nagelberg, DDS, has practiced general dentistry in suburban Philadelphia for more than 30 years. He is a speaker, advisory board member, consultant, and key opinion leader for several dental companies and organizations. He lectures on a variety of topics centered on understanding the impact dental professionals have beyond the oral cavity. Contact Dr. Nagelberg at [email protected].

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