Classifying gum disease genetically could help earlier diagnosis and treatment

Mary Cresseveur-Reed, DDS, FAGD

Dentistry

A study published in the Journal of Dental Research suggests a new system for classifying periodontal disease that may allow for earlier detection and personalized treatment before the disease becomes severe.

The researchers propose a new classification system – the first of its kind – based on the genetic expression of gum diseaseinstead of the current method based on clinical signs and symptoms.

They say such a system would enable earlier detection of gum disease, and allow individualized treatment, before teeth and bone loss sets in.

The present system, based on clinical symptoms, classifies periodontal disease as either “chronic” or “aggressive” depending on how swollen the gum is and how much bone is lost.

However, lead researcher, Panos N. Papapanou, professor and chair of oral and diagnostic sciences at the College of Dental Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center New York, NY, explains the problem with it:

“… there…

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