Some of the readers of this blog know that I have an extreme interest in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. I have always enjoyed science going back to my childhood and I was very fortunate to have some really wonderful mentors in dentistry who introduced me to the diagnosis and treatment of perio disease. A couple of these mentors were Dr. Omer Reed and Dr. Perry Radcliffe. Although I am not a clinician, I find the subject of perio disease quite fascinating.
In the 1980’s Dr. Reed, a General Dentist, and Dr. Radcliffe collaborated together to teach a course titled, ‘People without Perio’. The purpose of this course was to teach conservative treatment techniques that would identify perio disease in its earliest stages and treat the issues before they resulted in more damage. Drs. Reed and Radcliffe used phase contrast microscopy to take a sample from the patient’s mouth to identify pathogenic bacteria in the mouth. While the science was limited in the 1980’s, the microscope turned out to be a very useful patient education tool. When the patients saw the squirming ‘bugs’ under the microscope they realized they needed more than a cleaning.