A Look Back at McGill’s ‘Kindness in Action’ Dental Mission

A blog by Patricia Martinez

Espita, Yucatán

It is the afternoon of January 28th. An amazing chapter in my life has concluded.

I think that from our arrival in Espita, all of those who integrated the team, were about to realize that we were going to be part of an adventure, but we weren´t aware of what this adventure would mean.

As I look back on my days in Espita, I realize that I had the opportunity to share experiences with people who gave themselves in a personal and professional way to their Mexican brothers.

By trying to support the cause, and without being a dentist, I decided to live the experience God, Espita and this amazing group of professionals gave me, at my fullest by sharing the opportunity to give myself in a region that I had never visited in my own country.

I am not very sure of the exact moment where I found out I was going to be part of the mission, but from the very beginning, I had a need to collaborate in such a noble project; I didn´t even know Dr. Veronique Benhamou, Dr. Gerard Melki or Dr. Bob Clark, but now that I know them, I know that I am very fortunate to have been able to live such a gratifying experience by their sides.

We had some time to visit some of the surroundings, to have fun, to eat delicious Mexican meals, and even to see typical regional dances performed by local kids in honor of our presence. This is where I can reflect on my arrival in Espita. “I’ve been witness of an endless exchange of smiles (that from now on will be a lot healthier), between the people in Espita, and the group of foreigners that are now more Mexican than Mole”. These two groups have been put together with the purpose, to learn from each other.

Thanks to all the people in Espita (Mr. and Mrs. Monforte, Mr. and Mrs. Erosa and Conchi) and the McGill University team (Daniel, Gabrielle, Leslie, Jessica, Hannah, Mike, Sina, Rachel, Laura, Gursandeep, Gerard, Veronique and Bob) that made this beautiful experience possible.

Now I am home, and I see my kids and with them, the opportunity to keep on giving myself for causes that don’t have to be personal, since I find, that in non-personal causes, I can find the inspiration that I didn’t have before my trip to Espita.

It was the afternoon of January 26th of this 2013. On the moment I got on the airplane to Cancún, I never imagined that this particular trip would last me a lifetime.

Read More About the Periowave Outreach Program in Mexico  HERE

A Gingivitis Case Study: Periowave

A recent case study using Periowave completed by Dr Robert Fortier, DDS Cert. Perio, Quebec

Patient Profile: 29-year old female, non-smoker, 7 months pregnant. Exhibiting pregnancy gingivitis with full-mouth gingival hyperplasia caused by combination of hormonal changes of pregnancy and anticoagulation therapy. Generalized 4-5 mm pockets with profuse bleeding on probing (Fig 1.1)

Treatment Protocol: Initial Periowave treatment: Full-mouth SRP and PW treatment was performed along with localized gingivectomy to remove gingival hyperplasia. Cessation of anticoagulant therapy at birth.

Second Periowave treatment: 10 months after initial PW treatment following full mouth debridement.

Result: 10 months after initial Periowave treatment: 8 months after birth and 1 month after cessation of breast feeding, restoration of oral health. Some 4-5 mm pockets with no BOP and reduced inflammation (Fig 1.2).

1 month after second Periowave treatment: Only 3 pockets of 4-5 mm on the lingual of teeth 46-47. All other areas healthy with 1-2 mm pockets (Fig 1.3).
Case and photos provided by: Dr Robert Fortier, DDS Cert. Perio, Quebec

A Moderate Periodontitis Case Study: Periowave

A recent case study using Periowave completed by By Catherine Fairfield, RDH, Alberta:

Patient Profile: 69-year old, non-smoker male with generalized chronic periodontitis. Regularly scheduled supportive periodontal therapy (SPT) with unresponsive 7 mm pocket depth with heavy bleeding on probing on mesial of #13 (Fig 1.1).

Treatment Protocol: Initial Periowave treatment: 6 days after SPT due to heavy BOP in 7 mm PD treatment site.

Second Periowave treatment: 5 months after initial PW treatment in 5 mm PD treatment site with moderate BOP at SPT appointment.

Result: 5 months after initial PW treatment: Mesial #13 reduced from 7 mm PD with heavy BOP to 5 mm PD with moderate BOP (Fig 1.2).

4 months after second PW treatment: Mesial #13 further reduced to 3 mm PD with light BOP (Fig 1.3).

Case and photos provided by: By Catherine Fairfield, RDH, Alberta

An Advanced Periodontitis Case Study: Periowave

A recent case study using Periowave completed by Leanne Carlson, RDH & RDT:

Patient Profile: 62-year old male with generalized 6-8 mm probing depths accompanied by bleeding and suppuration.

Treatment protocol: Patient refused periodontal surgery so scaling and root planning with local anaesthetic was provided. Periowave treatments at 6-week intervals were also added to the treatment plan.

Result: At 6 weeks there was a reduction in BOP and at 12 weeks no evidence of bleeding. Pocket depths reduced to 3 mm and 4 mm. Patient was put on a 4-month recall and given Periowave treatment as needed.

Case and photos provided by: Leanne Carlson-Mann, RDH

Non-Invasive Dentistry- Periowave Photodisinfection for Gum Disease

For many people, a trip to the dentist is a traumatic experience involving pain and fear.  Fear of pain is a major reason why many people ignore their oral health and allow their gums to recede and bleed.  One Government study (NHANES 1994) found that 70% of the diagnosed patients with gum disease failed undertake treatment.  If gums were visible, such rampant infection would never be tolerated. Who, for instance, would allow a 2 inch pussy wound on their arms or face to remain untreated for years on end? No one. But for many, gum disease is a constant companion because it is relatively painless until the disease reaches very end stages that result in tooth mobility and tooth loss.

Traditional treatment of gum disease involves rigorous scaling and root planing at 3 month intervals and often requires surgical procedures involving slicing the gums open, flapping them back, recontouring bone tissue, adding replacement bone matrix and grafting tissue from the roof of the mouth onto the gums to reclose the area. If there ever is an unpleasant procedure, this is it.  It is hard to imagine that any patient would opt for this type of treatment in the face of less invasive alternatives.


Periowave Photodisinfection is a non-surgical alternative, offering a non-invasive approach to gum disease. It is a pain-free therapy that uses a two-step process involving a photosensitizer activated by a cold (non-thermal) red light. There is no burning or charring of tissue unlike thermal lasers often used for periodontal disease treatment. Instead, there is the power of photodisinfection which can eliminate bacteria and their virulence factors, can inactivate the inflammatory response and can promote innate host immune responses that other therapies are unable to achieve. Unlike antibiotics, there is no resistance generation and can therefore be used as often as needed. With this value proposition, photodisinfection is an important new approach for the treatment of gum disease including peri-implantitis for patients looking for effective, pain-free dental therapy.

An Ounce of Prevention: Periowave

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.

The Periowave Handheld Laser

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.

Periowave Treatment

Figure 1

Periowave Treatment

Figure 2

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.

World Oral Health Day 2013 – Why The Mouth Is A Gateway To Your Body

Oral health is critical to our well-being and yet too many of us take it for granted. Despite decades worth of research linking oral health to systemic health, far too many people remain unaware of the importance in maintaining good oral health. A quick search on the internet reveals millions of articles discussing the link between gum disease and major chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, pre-diabetes, arthritis, pre-term births etc. Gum disease is the most prevalent human infection with little progress being made.

No one would walk around with with chronically bleeding fingernails or pus-filled scabs on their arms, but because gums are hidden from view, most people will ignore their symptoms until it is too late and much damage has been done.  Why is this? Studies have demonstrated the general unwillingness to address chronic gum disease when up to 70% of patients diagnosed with gum disease failed to get treatment due primarily to cost and fear of pain. (It can be assumed that 100% of those undiagnosed are not seeking treatment and this may represent about half of the population). Read More

Congratulations To Dr. Robert Oliveros – Periowave’s PDC iPad mini Winner!

The Periowave team had a fantastic time again at this year’s Pacific Dental Conference, held at the Vancouver Convention Center. With over 12,000 dental professionals attending, we were kept busy discussing Periowave case studies, technique, and tradeshow promotions.

Periowave was featured in four lectures at the PDC this year. A record for us! Dr. Veronique Benhamou, Dr. George Freedman, Dr. Fay Goldstep, and Dr. Nancy Adair did a fantastic job educating clinicians on the benefits of using Periowave in their practice. Read More

Are your gums out to get you?

It seems that the root of all evil stems from the mouth; more specifically, the gums.

Over the years, periodontal disease has been linked to every thing from impotence, to heart disease, to cancer.

And now, far fetched as it may sound, gum disease may be linked to failed orthopedic implants. Yes, you read right – the implants used to rebuild your granny’s hip.

While you may be thinking: “Who on God’s green Earth decided to examine whether or not a person’s infected artificial knee was caused by their teeth?” – and you’d have a point – there’s actually a serious case to be made.

According to a study conducted by scientists at the University of Arkansas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2007, bacteria that enter the bloodstream via the bleeding gums caused by periodontal disease can cause infections in artificial joints. These infections, as the study states “can be potentially devastating.”

Read More

Mexican Association of Periodontology (AMP) Supports Lifechanging Dental Outreach Programs in Mexico

Thanks to the tremendous involvement of local officials and citizens, such as Espita Mayor Cap. Erosa and Sr Raul Monforte, the McGill’s ‘Kindness in Action’ dental mission led by Dr Veronique Benhamou was a great success. The mission was created to provide free dental services to the local people of Espita, Yucatan, many of whom had never before had access to a dentist.  Over 700 patients were treated over the 10 days in Espita, representing an excellent outcome from this collaboration.

Read More

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