Not all patients develop the same type of periodontal disease. Since there are different kinds and combinations of bacteria, it is sometimes helpful to conduct a bacterial test that will determine the types of bacteria present in the patient’s mouth when developing a periodontal treatment plan.
Samples of the bacteria are taken from the periodontal pockets for testing. This process is quick and painless. The dentist will insert a thin paper probe under the gum line for a few seconds to collect bacteria. The bacteria sample is then placed into a small, sealed container which is sent out to a laboratory. The lab will culture the bacteria to identify the bacteria type, and send the findings back to the dentist. Based on this information, your dentist can determine if antibiotics are necessary and which antibiotics would be most effective in treating the bacteria.
Candidates for bacterial testing include:
- Patients with active periodontal (gum) disease
- Patients experiencing symptoms such as bleeding gums, loose or shifting teeth, painful chewing, halitosis, gum recession, or bone loss.
- Patients with a history of periodontal disease in the family
- Patients preparing for dental implants who want to minimize the risk of infection around the implant