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 recordings are compared from visit to visit to see if the periodontal disease is progressing.
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 sometimes using a laser, 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.
Dr. Mitchell Josephs practices Cosmetic, Implant and General Dentistry in Palm Beach and hosts “Tooth Talk” on WBZT AM1230 (www.radiotoothtalk.com) Dr. Mitchell Josephs is a Faculty Advisory Board member at McGill University’s Faculty of Dentistry and completed his residency at Manhattan’s Beth Israel Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Hospital.
44 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach, FL 33480