Phase-Contrast Microscope

The Importance of biological dentistry and why we use the phase microscope in practice...

There are over 700 types of bacteria that can be found in the human mouth, some normal and some not.  When disease is present, we have an over abundance of pathogenic bacteria which furthers the destruction of the hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity.  There are some bacteria that are more virulent, or damaging, than others.  Taking samples of the biofilm, or plaque, that is found within a periodontal pocket can help a clinician in determining the best treatment per individual patient.

How do we do it?

Your dentist or dental hygienist will prepare a sample of plaque taken from the deepest gingival pocket and prepare a microscope slide.  The clinician will prep the phase-contrast microscope and bring the slide sample into focus and search for normal and pathogenic bacteria present.

Normal bacteria typically found in the oral cavity are round cocci and thin rods.  The longer you have gone without successful removal of plaque, more virulent bacteria is found.  With gingivitis we will often see not only cocci and rods, but vibrios and few spirochetes. 

With advanced stages of gum disease, we will find an over abundance of spirochetes which are the anaerobic, pathogenic bacteria who thrive in the deeper gingival pockets.  These virulent bacteria do well in acidic, low oxygen environments, so maintaining a healthy mouth, diet and  overall healthy lifestyle is important in having success in treatment.

A high volume of spirochetes with long term exposure has been known to be linked to chronic systemic autoimmune diseases within the human body such as rheumatoid arthritis.