Do you have periodontal (gum) disease? The symptoms of periodontal disease unlike most diseases is rarely felt. You can be in the process of loosing all your teeth and not even know it.

But what causes periodontal disease? Did you say plaque? If so, you are atleast partially correct. Through recent research conducted in Philadelphia and Boston, it has been discovered that many different types of bacteria (or NON-PLAQUE) bacteria can cause the loss of teeth. These NON-PLAQUE bacteria, unlike plaque bacteria, are usually tissue-invasive (they live INSIDE the gum tissue itself). What does this mean? It means that flossing, brushing and frequent cleanings cannot always assure that you will have your teeth for the rest of your life unless you can also avoid these "BAD BUGS".

How do you know if you have these BAD BUGS? ONE TEST: THE DNA PROBE

The DNA probe is taken using paper points as seen on the right.  The blue vial at the right contains a special fluid medium into which the paper point with the sample is placed.  You may have recalled seeing these vials when they were used to collect  O.J.Simpson's blood during his trial .

As you can see from the photo on your right,  the paper point is place into the infected gum pocket.  Often the area is inflamed, meaning the pocket bleeds readily when the probe is inserted.

The photo at the right shows the paper point after it is removed from the pocket.  This pocket is about 8 mm. in depth.  The point is now saturated with bacteria from deep within the pocket and from inside the gum tissues.

Finally, the paper point is inserted and stored in the DNA vial. It is now ready to be sent to the Lab for analysis which takes about two weeks. 

Dna testing is very accurate. The results as seen  on the right, shows the bacteria A. actinomycetamcomitans. One key advantage is that  the bacteria do not need to be living to get results. Many bacteria die in transit to the lab which is often located out of state. 


Richard Mao, D.M.D.
Practice Limited to Periodontics
E-Mailwith Questions


402 Severn Bldg.
8600 La Salle Rd.
Towson, Md. 21286
Tel:(410) 321-9595
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Bel Air, Md. 21014
Tel:(410) 879-6969