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Phase Contrast Microscopy and Your Dental Health

Our practice has always stood at the forefront of developments that will improve our procedures and, at the same time, your dental health. As a holistic practice, we place priority on procedures that not only benefit your teeth and gums, but your entire body. Your overall health is most important to us.

Because of this, we have adopted procedures that make it easier for Dr. Gashinsky to find out what is really going on in your mouth and, most importantly, how to remedy any causes of problems. It may not just be cavities, inflammations or simple gum issues that may be the problem. These are mostly just the tip of an iceberg that, in many cases, remain invisible and “under the surface” – just like real icebergs.

IMG_2967-300x225To detect such underlying causes, our practice uses equipment that can “look under the surface” and discover problems which, in the long run, can lead to real health issues. One such tool is Phase Contrast Microscopy,which is a contrast-enhancing optical technique that can be utilized to produce high-contrast images of transparent specimens, such as living cells (usually in culture), microorganisms, thin tissue slices and sub-cellular particles (including nuclei and other organelles – organized or specialized structures within a living cell.

By looking at the kinds of bacteria in your mouth under the microscope, we can tell in a few minutes whether you’re infected with high risk bacteria much earlier than was possible a few years ago. Until recently, there weren’t any tests capable of detecting early periodontal (gum) infections. X-rays could detect bone loss and periodontal probing could measure tissue loss, but only after the destruction had occurred.

Periodontal diseases are caused by specific types of bacteria. If you’re infected, the inflammation slowly destroys gums and supporting bone. More teeth are now lost to periodontal disease than to tooth decay! Studies show that over 80% of the population has some form of periodontal disease. But, because it’s usually painless, most people aren’t aware they have it. You should also know that periodontal disease is contagious.

How Does the Past Contrast Microscope Work?

Under normal, healthy conditions, a microscope will show acceptable levels of bacteria which is necessary for balance in our body systems.  Situations in our patient’s health will usually reveal a different picture. In these cases our phase contrast microscope will show a high level of bad bacterial activity. The bacteria, especially the rods and spirochetes, are those responsible for the bleeding and the destruction of you periodontal pockets. Oral spirochetes have been shown to contribute to periodontal disease and they are also suspected in contributing to Alzheimer’s disease and many other conditions.

IMG_2970-300x225Oral spirochetes are only one of the “bad guys” that can be found so we’re careful to take an accurate sample for testing. By taking a sample of a patient’s plaque and putting it on a slide, we have the ability to get the full picture of what’s actually going on in a patient’s mouth in real time.  Because the sample that is taken is placed in a solution that keeps the bacteria or any pathogens alive, we can view them in their real state as they are living inside the gum pockets.  If there is an abundance of bad bacteria in the gum pockets we now know WHY the gum disease is present and we can now treat the CAUSE of the disease not just the disease!  If we treat the cause, the chance of the disease returning is eliminated.

What can even be more compelling is that there are times bad bacteria can be found in the gum pockets that we can see under the microscope but the bacteria hasn’t had the opportunity to cause damage to the gums…yet.  Here is where we feel we really are truly preventive holistic specialists since now we can eliminate the disease causing pathogens BEFORE the damage is done. The ability to find the pathogens in advance of disease allows us to eliminate them before a patient shows signs of a disease process. By having our patients see their sample results on a screen by the microscope is a picture worth a thousand words since now a patient can understand what’s happening and why.

Many studies and research is showing the correlation of gum disease to many systemic diseases. Having an opportunity to actually see the bacteria and develop a protocol to eliminate them naturally as to potentially prevent systemic diseases, is in our mind, the true sense of holism. Thomas Edison said “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”  The future is now.

This is what biological dentistry has to offer our patients. We not only treat the mouth but understand that the entire body also needs the appropriate attention to support and maintain our overall health and well being.

The introduction of the phase contrast microscope has made a significant contribution to our practice.  This instrument will tell us if, and to what extend, harmful bacteria including oral spirochetes are present so that we can apply the appropriate treatments to eliminate any harmful effects to your health.

For more information or questions, contact us today to learn more about our procedures to protect your dental health.