DNA / Bacterial Identification

Laboratory Tests

Not everyone develops the same type of periodontal disease. There are many different bacteria and combinations of bacteria which can cause problems. In certain situations, knowing what bacteria are present is critical to successful treatment.

Culture and Sensitivity

This sampling process is quick and painless. A thin paper probe is placed under the gum line for 10 seconds. In that time, bacteria are collected on the paper probe. When removed from the mouth, the probe is placed into a small container. The container is then sent out to a laboratory where the destructive bacteria can be grown and identified. At the same time, the laboratory can determine what antibiotics might be useful in killing these bacteria. When the results are sent back to Wolf (usually in about 10 – 14 days) he can determine if taking antibiotics is necessary and which ones would be helpful in treating your condition.

DNA Test

Bacterial DNA testing is based on the fact that each strain of bacteria has a specific “fingerprint” of genetic material. This fingerprint can be analyzed in a laboratory to show which types of bacteria are causing an infection. The test is a quick, safe, and painless process. Four tiny paper points are placed under the gums for a period of 10 seconds. This is long enough to collect disease causing bacteria from under the gums. In 10 days Dr. Wolf will have an accurate way of knowing if invasive bacteria are inside your gum tissue. In this situation, non surgical treatment can’t reach them and antibiotics are needed to clear them out. Without the focus given by the test we may use an ineffective antibiotic which may be more likely to produce resistant strains than good treatment results.

Most patients find that it is very reassuring to know whether or not they have aggressive strains of bacteria in their gums. If they are not present, patients feel relief immediately. Patients who test positive for the aggressive strains of bacteria, on the other hand, gain a better understanding of why they have had such a difficult time with periodontal problems in the past. They can feel hopeful for the future because they know that they will receive properly targeted antibiotics in addition to effective local treatment.

Who should be tested?

  • Anyone with current active periodontal (gum) disease
  • Symptoms include: bleeding gums, loose or shifting teeth, painful chewing, bad breath, gum recession, and bone loss.
  • People with a history of periodontal disease in their family can be screened and diagnosed early before the bacteria have a chance to cause an infection.
  • People about to have dental implants can take the test to make sure that any prior periodontal infection is under control to protect the implants from getting infected.

For adults considering orthodontic treatment it can help determine if active infection is present.