Dentistry: Saliva Testing
Saliva testing is going to be common in dentistry in years to come. Studies have shown
that saliva testing at exam appointments proves to be helpful in diagnosing periodontal disease as well as
determining the effectiveness of periodontal (gum disease) therapy after treatment has been completed.
Certain regulatory proteins called Cytokines play an important role in periodontal disease progression.
Cytokines and bacterial levels are detectable with saliva testing as well as other important diagnostic
Researchers have found that the success of periodontal therapy can be evaluated not
only by clinical findings in the patient’s mouth, but by the comparison of saliva test results before and
after periodontal therapy. Clinical trials are now being run and you can expect to see this used daily in the
next few years. The end result will be a better outcome for patients.
If periodontal disease is detected early the patient has a far better chance of never
needing gum disease surgery then a patient who’s disease has progressing into more advanced stages of gum
disease. Increase in the Cytokine, and bacterial levels will be detectable prior to clinical evidence such as
increased probing depths, bleeding gums, loss of bone around teeth, and other periodontal issues. Early
detection is the best way to combat periodontal disease, by preventing the progression of the
Saliva testing has been shown to be less invasive, accurate, and more comfortable for
patients then traditional diagnostic tests such as blood testing, biopsies, and urine tests. Saliva tests
take less time for test results to be determined, therefore giving patients the earliest detection possible.
Saliva testing has been shown to be useful in diagnosing many medical conditions including:
- Heart attack
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Hepatitis C
- Yeast infections
- Cancer-pancreatic, lung, breast, oral
- Tumors – can differentiate between benign (non cancerous), or malignant
- Hormone imbalances
- Adrenal dysfunction
- Thyroid disease
Saliva testing can also be used for tobacco, drug and alcohol testing (within 12 to 24
hours of use). This is very valuable for employers, when an on the job accident has occurred. Saliva testing
can also be used for DNA testing, pH testing, and to monitor ovulation for reproduction assistance. These
tests can be performed with a home type of kit or by your health care provider.
Many other uses for saliva testing are being researched at this time, and will be
researched for years to come. Saliva testing will be brought into the standard of care provided to you by
your healthcare providers including your dentist in the near future.
October 1, 2009
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