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‘I Have What? That Can’t be Possible’

Award Winners: Dr. Jim McCreight & Jessica Berthelson RDH.

McCreight Progressive Dentistry.

Dr. Jim McCreight and Jessica Berthelson RDH.

Patients go to the dentist for healthy teeth, a whiter smile, and the freshest breath. Some patients transform their appearance and gain transforming confidence with orthodontics or a full mouth makeover. Most people never think about their gums, yet healthy gums are key to general health and will help support dental work long into the future. In this award-winning case study, Dr. Jim McCreight and hygienist Jessica Berthelson addressed the infected gums before the important dental work that the patient wanted could be done. The gum health should preserve the dentistry long into the future.

The patient’s chief complaint when he first came to McCreight Progressive Dentistry in Steamboat Springs, CO was a missing tooth. He wanted an implant. He had already had extensive dental work at another dental office and presented with significant plaque build-up, staining, and pervasive infections in his gums. Heavy bleeding of the gum tissues were noted throughout his mouth and bacterial testing indicated high pathogen levels. Radiographs showed generalized bone loss. He was diagnosed with advanced gum disease.

Gum disease can advance undetected for years before a patient notices it. It doesn’t hurt until the very last stage, and it’s easy to ignore. Early warning signs like bleeding gums are hard to see and you can mask the associated bad breath with chewing gum and mints. Dentists and hygienists are trained to look for gum disease, but it is one of the most underdiagnosed conditions in dentistry. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47% of American adults have chronic gum disease that is advanced enough to have already damaged the bone support for teeth. McCreight Progressive Dentistry is recognized with this award not only for the excellence care they provided but also the careful attention to the health of patients’ gums.

“This was a particularly tough case,” says Dr. Jim McCreight “because the patient did not know he had gum disease and I diagnosed an advanced form of it. He did not want to hear this. He just wanted an implant but I refused to take his money for the implant until the gum disease was under control. If we had left the disease unchecked, it would have threatened the health of the implant.” Bacterial testing indicated two bacterial species associated with gum disease above the diagnostic threshold and a third high risk pathogen present. “Eventually the patient came to terms with the condition and completed the treatment.”

The team at McCreight Progressive Dentistry has a primary vision to help dental clients achieve the smile and oral health of their dreams. With a highly trained staff, they incorporate the most advanced technology and materials in their practice. For gum health, they offer before and after bacterial testing from OralDNA, complete detailed cleanings of the teeth above and below the gums, laser therapy, and prescription Perio Trays from Perio Protect to place medication below the gums to fight the infections at home.

Treatment started with prescription Perio Trays and office cleanings. The patient came to the office four times for careful removal of bacterial buildup and used the prescription tray therapy at home, twice a day for 20 minutes. After two cleanings and two weeks of Perio Tray homecare, Jessica Berthelson RDH noted “remarkable change in gum tissue response, much less bleeding and inflammation. The patient reports gums feeling better as well.” Six weeks later the results were even better, with significantly less bleeding. The patient was instructed to drop tray usage at home to once a day.

The prescription tray homecare is important because it is the only way to easily and reliably get medication deep below the gums and keep it there long enough to maintain the healthy tissue. Within weeks of starting treatment, there was a 77% decrease in bleeding, less plaque, and much healthier gum tissue tone and color. A year later, the pathogen testing indicated significant reductions in bacterial loads, indicating long-term success.

The Orkos award was developed by Perio Protect to recognize excellence in case study for treatment of gum disease. The McCreight Progressive Dental team’s dedication to patient health, as indicated in this case study, involves extra time to help patients understand and accept their need for treatment. “This commitment to patient education is important and relevant,” says Dr. Duane Keller, the inventor of the Perio Tray.

Without the careful explanations and comprehensive treatment, the patient would not have known the risks to his health until it was too late to save his teeth. With this intervention, the McCreight Progressive dental team gave him a way to preserve this health and his smile.”

For more information about McCreight Progressive Dentistry visit For detailed information about the prescription Perio Tray therapy, visit Perio Protect.

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