January 2017 Award Winners - Dr. Mark Christensen & Jackie Morin RDH
When patients invest in crowns for teeth that have decay or cracks, they are acutely aware of the importance of their health and the need to maintain it. When the gum tissue surrounding those teeth gets infected and begins to bleed, they are concerned not only for their gingival health but also for the longevity of the crowns. Dr. Mark Christensen and hygienist Jackie Morin received the Orkos Award for excellence in case study for helping a patient clear infected gum tissue and protect the crowns.
"My gums bled all the time and my biggest fear was having to replace my crowns," explained Dr. Christensen's patient at Dental Group San Diego. "Ever since I've had these crowns, I've been concerned about the bleeding." Patient awareness is the first step. Most patients don't even know they have bleeding gums, one of the first obvious signs of infected gum tissue leading to gum disease. Additional symptoms include bad breath, red, swollen or tender gums, receding gums and even loose teeth.
Addressing the problem is the second step. It is important to stop the infections because gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. This patient obviously wanted to keep her teeth, but she also did not want to have to replace her crowns. As for most patients, in-office treatment and cleanings every three months were not enough.
The problem is that the bacteria regroup into communities called biofilms within hours of the careful dental cleaning, and those communities grow deep enough below the gums that toothbrush, rinse, and floss can't reach them, so the infectious cycle continues. To overcome this challenge, Dr. Christensen recommended a prescription Perio Tray® to deliver medication deep below the gums to manage the bacterial regrowth between office visits.
The Perio Tray® has an internal peripheral seal to place medication deep under the gums and prevent it from leaking out of the tray. The patient accepted. "It was an easy choice," she said, since the trays "are less than the price of one crown!"
Dr. Christensen asked the patient to use the trays for 15 minutes 3 times a day for two weeks. When she returned to the office after two weeks, the bleeding had decreased significantly around her crown margins. She then dropped tray usage to 2 times a day. Three months later at her regular periodontal maintenance appointment, the improvements in the health of her gums had been maintained with a decrease from 168 bleeding points to 1 point.
Hygienist Jackie Morin recalls how happy the patient was with the comfortable Perio Tray and the results. "It is so nice to have a treatment that we know will work and that patients like," she explains. "The patient was so happy with her results and with her smile. It makes my job rewarding."
The Orkos Award was established to recognize excellence in case study for the treatment of periodontal disease, gingivitis or periodontitis. You can see more from past awardees at their reports. Learn more information about Dr. Christensen’s practice Dental Group San Diego and about the prescription Perio Tray® from Perio Protect.