If your dentist asks to collect a sample of your saliva, try not to be too weirded out. It’s actually very common for dentists to perform saliva tests. Saliva tests are extremely easy procedures that require almost nothing from you other than a little bit of your spit. Best of all, these simple tests can save you from developing severe dental issues in the future.
At Water Tower Dental Care, we perform three different types of saliva tests to find out if you have HPV and to analyze what is causing your gum disease.
Saliva Test to Detect HPV
The most common saliva test we offer is the OralRisk HPV test. We perform this test regularly as part of your routine oral health exam to detect if you have oral HPV (Human Papillomavirus). Though HPV can eventually be identified by skin lesions, such as warts or sores, saliva tests can identify HPV early on, even before you start showing physical symptoms. Catching HPV when it first develops allows your dentist to treat it more effectively and prevent it from getting worse, which is important because it can eventually develop into cancer.
What is HPV?
HPV is one of the most common virus groups in the world. The virus can vary, from being low risk and causing warts, to being high-risk and causing cancer. Medical research has found that 90% of cervical cancers are linked to specific high-risk HPV types, according to OralDNA Labs. HPV can be caused by sexual contact or simply by close contact with another person. Research is currently being conducted to discover what else may cause HPV.
Salvia Test for Gum Disease
Along with the OralRisk HPV test, we also use saliva tests to analyze which bacteria are triggering a patient’s gum disease, or periodontal disease. We usually recommend this test, which is called MyPerioPath, to patients who have moderate-to-severe gum disease, patients who are currently receiving treatment for gum disease and are not seeing ideal results, or patients who have a great oral hygiene routine but still deal with bleeding gums. The saliva test allow us to identify what type of bacteria is causing your gum disease so that we can create a customized hygiene treatment to help you get rid of the disease once and for all.
Finally, we perform MyPerioID PST saliva tests to see if our patients with gum disease have any specific changes in their DNA, which could mean that they are at a greater risk of developing a more serious disease. This allows us to create a hygiene plan that will prevent those diseases.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is simply another word for gum disease. In its most moderate state, it can be identified in the form of gum inflammation. If left untreated, it can develop into a severe disease that causes severe damage to your gums, teeth and bone. According to the FDA, 75% of all Americans over age 35 have some form of gum disease. Crazy, right? Some studies show that gum disease can also affect your overall health, not just your oral health. Gum disease is mostly caused by bad oral hygiene techniques, but can also develop as a result of smoking or chewing tobacco, crooked teeth, hormonal changes, stress, cancer, cancer treatment, poor diet, diabetes, medication, and through exchanging saliva with someone who has gum disease.
What Are Saliva Treatments Like?
Saliva treatments will probably be one of the easiest and quickest treatments you’ve ever experienced as a patient. All you have to do is swish a sterile saline solution around in your mouth for about 30 seconds. Then, you simply spit into a tube or a small container and your work is done! We’ll send the sample to OralDNA Labs and they’ll process it. When we get the results, we’ll contact you to discuss them. That’s all there is to it.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve received a saliva test for HPV or you think that you might have gum disease, come on into Water Tower Dental Care on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. We’d love to give you the information you need to keep your teeth healthy with a customized hygiene treatment plan.