Biological Periodontal Therapy
The American Academy of Periodontology estimates that nearly 80% of Americans have some form of gum disease and approximately 50% of cases are considered moderate to severe. As a biologic dental office, it is our responsibility not only to recognize and treat this localized, infectious disease in the oral cavity, but also to understand the systemic effects that the mouth has with the rest of the body. This relationship between systemic and oral health is bi-directional.
Our biologic practice incorporates this holistic concept. The most important message we can communicate to our patients is……” if you’re going to treat periodontal infection, you absolutely must treat the whole body.” People with gum disease are not healthy people…with sick gums.
The best way to improve overall health (including the mouth) is to place the chemistry of the body in balance. Disease, no matter where it appears, is a body chemistry imbalance. Opportunistic conditions will flourish as bacteria, viruses, yeasts, parasites and even molds will attack the body until balance is restored.
Is there a solution to treating periodontal disease that will improve short term as well as long term success? I think the answer is to provide nutritional support for the body along with an effective non-surgical approach to periodontal therapy.
Our approach to biological periodontal therapy requires 3 basic steps for long term success.
Remove the pathogens – this is considered the acute phase of therapy that will usually require 3 -5 visits to complete.
- We begin by irrigating the entire mouth with an antimicrobial rinse that contains essential oils and herbs which will help to reduce the initial exposure of microforms into the blood stream before periodontal therapy begins.
- Treat the effective periodontal pockets as needed with gross debridement, root plane and scaling and subgingival irrigation in order to eliminate the offending microforms and calculus that are present.
- Using the phase contrast microscope – we use this instrument as a way of checking as to whether we’re making progress in disease eradication. This is also a good patient motivator as treatment therapy continues to improve.
- End each appointment by full mouth irrigation with antimicrobial rinse and polish.
- Consider “natural” antibiotics such as garlic extract (Allicin) or oil of Oregano as needed for inflammatory or infectious conditions.
Alter host response – balance body chemistry to improve periodontal conditions is the long term phase of this therapy.
This might be the hardest part of the program because you have to take a serious look at your own lifestyle and behaviors to determine areas that need improvement. Following this protocol will certainly enhance your bodies’ ability to heal and repair damaged tissue.
- Nutritional Guidelines: “Get Back to Basics.” Eat natural, fresh, whole foods.
- Fruits and vegetables with low glycemic index.
- Animal products such as white meats and fish.
- Monounsaturated fats – olive oil, olives, nuts, natural peanut butter, almonds and avocados.
- Drink plenty of WATER!
- Nutritional Supplements for biological periodontal therapy:
- Coenzyme Q-10
- Vitamin C
- Oil of Oregano
Reduce Susceptibility – maintenance care.
Once your biological periodontal therapy is completed, it is essential that you continue with a maintenance program that is personally designed for you to ensure a successful outcome for years to come. This will include:
- Regular hygiene check-ups, every 3 – 4 months at first, then increase to 6 months as appropriate for each case.
- Following proper home care instructions.
- Healthy diet.
As a biological dentist, I believe this therapy provides an excellent opportunity to create a healthy periodontium for our patients; however, I am challenged by the fact that we must continue to promote this concept of biological periodontal therapy to all our patients, so that we may protect them in a more holistic fashion.
Let us not forget the systemic problems associated with periodontal infections. These include heart disease, stroke, pre-term, low birth weight babies, pregnancy gingivitis, stomach ulcers, diabetes, brain abscesses, prosthetic joint failure and subacute bacterial endocarditis.
Did you know that the risk of having a stroke is 2 ½ times as high in people with periodontitis? Therefore, it seems to make sense that the treatment of periodontal disease along with good nutritional support and quality supplements may offer a new way to prevent strokes and heart disease in our patients.