April is Dental Awareness Month, and for most people, this means the state of their teeth. However, teeth are only a part of dental health; soft (gum) tissue and hard (bone) tissue, are also very much part of the equation. Dental Awareness Month is therefore a very good time to focus on the bone and gum tissues that support a healthy mouth.
There are many reasons why we should take some time this month to learn about periodontitis which most people know as gum disease. Gum disease is the most common human infection, affecting not only our oral health, but our overall systemic health too. It is well worth remembering what the bard once wrote: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Prevention of gum disease is a good example of this lesson, as early intervention can be highly effective and not very involved while postponing treatment can lead to extreme consequences such as loss of teeth, bad breath and the risk of some serious long term chronic health issues like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc.
When not brushed and flossed properly, a bacterial infection might develop where the gums join the teeth. This includes plaque and tartar building up at the base of the teeth, filling up inflammatory pockets. Several adverse effects result since plaque contains bacteria; damage of tissue (teeth and gums), infection, and tooth abscess. Bacteria from the plaque may also travel into the bloodstream and increase the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, arthritis, and other diseases. This is why regular brushing and flossing is crucial.
Some common treatments of periodontitis include the application of antibiotic microspheres (containing minocycline), antibiotic gel (containing doxycycline), antiseptic chips, anti-microbrial mouthrinse, enzyme suppressants, or oral antibiotics. These forms of treatment rely heavily on patient compliance and can lead to resistance, as in the case of antibiotics. However, there is a non pharmaceutical alternative that has shown, through a numerous clinical trials, significant gains in clinical attachment and overall improvement of oral health. Periowave™ Photodisinfection System is a non-antibiotic approach to the treatment of gum disease, providing a simple solution to complex oral infections.
Periowave™ is a new approach to the treatment of gum disease that harnesses the powerful photodisinfection reaction to inactivate the bacteria and toxins that are left behind after scaling and root planing. The application of Periowave™ is essentially a two step process. The first step is called irrigation, where a specially formulated photosensitizing solution is topically applied to the gums at the treatment site. This photosensitizing solution preferentially attaches to the harmful bacteria and toxins associated with periodontal disease (Figure 1). Next, a thin plastic light guide is placed into the treatment site. The light guide illuminates the treatment site with a specifically calibrated laser light, activating the photosensitizer solution and destroying bacteria beneath the gum line (Figure 2). The entire treatment is painless, creating less stress for both the patient and the dental clinician.
Photodisinfection has many clinically proven advantages, offering superior patient outcomes and better overall oral health. Photodisinfection instantly inactivates host inflammatory factors, eradicates P. gingivalis from dental implants without altering their surface chemistry, and does not generate antibiotic resistance. One trial demonstrated that Periowave™ kills 99.99% of all P. gingivalis biofilm within 60 seconds, the standard duration of treatment. No other therapy can match these results without the risk of damaging human tissue.
Periowave™ is an innovative technology that has the potential to drastically decrease periodontitis in a safe and timely manner. The benefits of Periowave™ include: no patient compliance after the treatment, rapid action, high specificity to disease-causing bacteria and anti-inflammatory impact. The combination of these benefits results in better patient outcomes, including a healthier mouth leading to improved overall systemic wellness. Periowave™ is minimally invasive and has changed the way dentists treat gum disease. Photodisinfection serves the dental clinician both as a therapy for severely diseased gums and as a preventative intervention. Periowave™ is, therefore, the ounce of prevention that patients have been looking for. For a dentist with Periowave™ nearest you, click here.