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 Gregory C. Dilger D.D.S.           General Dentist            1353 Edgewater St.          West Salem          (503) 378-0466   

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Future 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 information.

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 disease.


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
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Hepatitis C
  • Yeast infections
  • Cancer-pancreatic, lung, breast, oral
  • Tumors – can differentiate between benign (non cancerous), or malignant (cancerous)
  • Diabetes
  • HIV
  • 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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Patient Testamonials


Dear Dr. Dilger:


It all started with my initial phone call to Dr. Dilger's office. I felt so comfortable from the start and after I came in for my first visit it's been all about what I want and what Dr. Dilger and his staff recommends for me. All around, it's been the best dental experience I've ever had.


Al P.




Going to the dentist used to be a nightmare experience for me. That's all changed when I came to Dr. Dilger. Dr. Dilger's office staff are so warm and welcoming. Visiting them is like going home. Dr. Dilger's calm and caring manner erased all my dental anxiety and for the first time in my life I found myself relaxed in a dental chair. Dr. Dilger and his staff really took the time to get to know me and my concerns. They talked with me about my fears and helped me address my anxiety. Now I visit the dentist and I'm not afraid. I can not express the difference Dr. Dilger has made in my dental life! Thanks so much Dr. D.


Molly F.




I love my new smile.  It was so easy too.  Nearly pain free.  I am considering my lower teeth at a later date.


Debbie E.