Q: I recently needed to have 7 teeth removed due to gum disease and yet I have been getting my teeth cleaned by the same hygienist for 15 years. Why did she not see this coming?
A: Assuming you brush and floss every day, your hygienist may not be utilizing today’s hi-tech diagnostic and treatment modalities for periodontal disease.
Remember the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey, starring Hal-9000, the talking computer? My hygienist has been using a computerized, talking probe, called the STM Probe.
A small, blunt, plastic probe placed into the pocket between tooth and gum, measures bone or ligament loss around a tooth. The computer “speaks” the measurement and records the readings on a print-out, placed in the patient’s chart. If the computer generated voice speaks of pockets of “five” or greater, these areas need treatment to prevent further bone loss, and eventual loss of the tooth.
The first and least invasive line of treatment would be a thorough scraping of toxins along the root surfaces and the inner lining of the pocket, followed by the placement of antibiotic granules, called Arestin, which dissolve over a ten day period under the gum.
Very often this will prevent you from needing extensive gum surgery and loss of the tooth.
Written by Dr. Mitchell A Josephs DDS
Dr. Josephs practices cosmetic, implant and general dentistry in Palm Beach and hosts Tooth Talk on WBZT, AM 1230. For more info visit palmbeachdentist.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-888-DRTOOTH