Local dentist using DNA test to fight periodontal disease

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - You probably think DNA testing helps solve murder cases, like you watch on Law & Order or CSI. That's typically what we see on tv.

But the procedure of exploring DNA is now getting some teeth in the dental field too.

"He's collecting the bacteria in his mouth which will allow us to analyze that bacteria," Dr. William Carmichael showed WECT recently.

It's a simple DNA test that's considered one of the most significant improvements in dental medicine according to Dr. Carmichael.

"We are able to take this sample and send it to the lab," Carmichael said.

And in four to five days, dentists will have a good idea of how to treat you after studying the extent of the bacteria in your mouth.

"It allows us to customize the treatment plan. Make it specific for the individual patient," Dr. Gabriel Rich with Riverside Dental Arts said.

Three our of four adults have some form of periodontal disease, ranging from a mild inflammation of the gums to losing all of their teeth.

The test is not for everyone. Dr. Rich says dentists will assess your needs before going through with it.

It's still new as well. Some insurance companies may not cover the $175 fee. But, he hopes enough people see the benefit in this process to put their money where their mouth is.

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