ST. LOUIS, Missouri--Dr. Patricia Stoker, of Columbia, Md., has received the Orkos Award for demonstrating professional excellence in her case study report of a patient receiving treatment for gum disease. To read more about Perio Protect, go to Perio Protect.Dr. Stoker’s patient suffered from severe gum disease, complicated by a relentless gagging reflex.The award was founded by Perio Protect encourage and recognize the contributions of dental professionals using minimally invasive methods to treat gum disease. To receive the Orkos Award, doctors and hygienists submit documentation demonstrating significantly improved clinical outcomes for patients after treatment. The qualifying evidence presented by Dr. Stoker was of particular interest because the patient suffered from an exceptionally strong gag reflex and significant anxiety regarding dental treatment, making any oral procedure especially difficult. The patient’s anxiety was so serious that even the routine task of taking a full mouth series of radiographs had to be broken up into several appointments. Once an individual is diagnosed with gum disease, such as periodontitis or gingivitis, several treatment options are available. This includes scaling and root planing, a rigorous cleaning of the teeth above and below the gum line that often requires a local anesthetic. For more serious cases, surgery may be necessary, in which infected gum tissue is removed with a laser or scalpel. These treatment options are understandably unpopular even for patients without anxiety.According to Dr. Stoker, the patient in the study had “refused scaling/root planing in other offices and in ours. Her prior experiences refusing mechanical treatment left her frustrated and discouraged. Then, she was referred to us by another patient of ours whose husband has been successfully treated in our practice with the Perio Tray delivery of medication under the gums.”Perio Protect offers a noninvasive prescription tray to deliver medication below the gum line so that the medication can work to fight gum infections before and after mechanical debriding procedures are completed. With effective medication-killing bacteria under the gums, the necessity and frequency of repetitive, invasive dental procedures may be reduced. This comfortable customized tray, known as the Perio Tray, is worn by patients at home for minutes each day between office visits. The patient cited in the study “was very pleased to be offered a noninvasive option to help address her infected gums. As she had with all of her previous dentists, she refused the mechanical procedures we recommended,” Dr Stoker explained, “and started treatment with the medication delivered by the trays shortly after her first visit with us.”To deliver medication effectively, each Perio Tray is fabricated to fit precisely over the individual patient’s teeth and gums. Dr. Stoker noted that “in order to obtain the impressions for the prescription Perio Trays, the patient took valium premedication prior to the appointment.”Before treatment, the patient had a complete periodontal evaluation. Seventy-seven percent of the sites in her mouth were bleeding before treatment. Pockets between her teeth and gums measured as deep as 7 mm, and more than 50% of the pockets measured deeper than the accepted healthy depth of 3 mm. At the patient’s most recent hygiene visit, only 7% of the pockets were bleeding and the deepest pocket depth measured 5 mm. These results came from the daily delivery of oxidizing agents, using Perio Trays. No other treatment was rendered. “While we continue to recommend mechanical debridement for even more improvement,” Dr. Stoker explained, “she resists the recommendation. She is fearful of the treatment and her gagging reflex makes it almost impossible to complete the debriding procedures. She says she is pleased with these results and she is healthier than she has been in many years.” To view the pre-and post-treatment charting for the case, go to www.theorkosaward.com/studies.html.Dr. Stoker has been in private practice for more than 20 years. She graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery and received additional training in advanced dentistry as a resident at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. She continues to update her knowledge on the latest dental treatments by completing courses at the Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education and by regularly attending continuing education seminars. It was at one such seminar that Dr. Stoker received the training and certification to offer the Perio Protect Method to patients.For additional information about the Orkos Award and the current winners, go to www.theorkosaward.com. To learn more about the Perio Protect Method, visit www.perioprotect.com.To comment on this subject, go to community.pennwelldentalgroup.com/.