Periowave™ Photodisinfection System – an adjunct to SRP

Scaling & Root Planing removes plaque and calculus from the outer surfaces of the tooth and root

Scaling and root planing (SRP), is the dental procedure that removes plaque and calculus from the outer surfaces of the tooth and root using mechanical instruments.  SRP is used to primarily remove the plaque and calculus that adhere to the surfaces of the tooth. While thorough SRP is quite effective at removing much of the subgingival calculus, it leaves behind bacterial biofilm.  Biofilms are a complex community of microorganisms that can develop on the tooth surface and form plaque. These biofilms are a primary cause of periodontitis or gum disease.

Emerging research links periodontal disease to other health problems including heart and respiratory diseases, preterm low birth-weight babies, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, and cancer. Periodontal disease is the number-one cause of tooth loss. According to the 1996 American Dental Association/Colgate survey, U.S. dentists say gum disease is a more pressing oral health concern than tooth decay by a 2-to-1 margin.1

One method of treating periodontal disease is through the use of antibiotics. Most human infections have a biofilm base and are well known to be extremely resistant to traditional antibiotics. Research demonstrates that antibiotics can be a helpful adjunct to treating periodontal disease. However, medical and dental communities are concerned about the overuse of these medications in treating infections because of the possibility of the development of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. This overuse would be detrimental to patients if they develop a life-threatening illness for which antibiotics would no longer be helpful.2

By adding photodisinfection as a final step to traditional SRP, many more of the harmful bacteria and their toxins are destroyed, thereby reducing inflammation and allowing for more rapid healing of the tissues surrounding the tooth.  Outcomes include healthier looking and feeling gum tissues, less bleeding from the gums, reduction of bad breath, faster healing times, reduced pocket depths, and improved attachment levels of healthy gum tissues to the tooth surfaces.3 The benefit of improved attachment levels is the absence of the ‘long in the tooth’ look that has been long associated with periodontal disease.

The Periowave™ Photodisinfection System is a non-antibiotic, pain-free, topical, non-surgical approach to the treatment of the biofilm that can cause conditions such as periodontitis, peri-implantitis, gingivitis and endodontic infections. Periowave™ involves a two step approach: a topical application of a photosensitizer on the area of infection followed by a light activation using a cold diode (non-thermal) laser for one minute per site. This is a painless process.

Treatment ends once the light has terminated and there are no special patient requirements such as not brushing your teeth for a period of time after the procedure. Furthermore, there is nothing left behind to impede healing or cause discomfort.  Unlike antibiotics, light activated photodynamic disinfection does not result in resistant bacteria, which is a growing concern all over the world. Periowave™ is safe for use with implants and other dental materials and can be easily and safely deployed by dental hygienists as well as by dentists. Please click here for safety information related to Periowave™.

PeriowaveTM plus thorough SRP is the one-two punch needed to knock out gum disease. Come see PeriowaveTM first hand and talk to clinicians about their outcomes using this exciting technology. We are in booth 213/312 at the Pacific Dental Conference March 10-11. A must-see presentation is Professor Michael Wilson, author of the first paper on oral photodisinfection from University College London speaking on Photodisinfection Friday March 11 from 8:30am – 11:00am, room 302.

  1. American Academy of Periodontology.
  2. American Academy of Periodontology.
  3. Loebel N, Andersen R, Hammond D, Wilson M.  Treatment of Periodontal Disease by Photodisinfection Compared to Scaling and Root Planing.  J Clin Dent 2007; 18(2):34-38.
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