Ageing means cellular degradation and loss of collagen – building blocks of our body. In dentistry, ageing is seeing through tooth color changes and gums recession. Gum inflammation (redness, swelling, bleeding) and presence of tartar accelerates ageing. In modern prevention, just watching out for gums redness and bleeding is not wise because … it is too late, isn’t it?! What if there is a way to determine if our body is suffering from an infection even before we notice any inflammatory symptoms and loss of collagen?!
Have you ever heard of Matrix Metalloproteinase-8 (MMP-8)?!
I bet not. It is not something that we can find on the supermarket shelves. 🙂
MMP-8 is a genetically encoded proteinase, stored inactively in the Neutrophils – the immune system’s first line of defense. When activated and released, MMP-8 destroys the collagen and the extracellular matrix. It is more like the immune system’s bazooka causing also damage not only to the invading pathogens but also to the surrounding normal tissues. In the mouth, besides killing bacteria it could also lead to tooth and dental implant loss. Due to its proteolytic ability, it is also implicated in atherosclerotic plaque destabilisation and coronary arteries rupture. In plain English – can cause a heart attack.
The release of MMP-8 is a sign of immune activation against an aggressor. The effects are local – Gingivitis, Periodontal Disease, Tooth loss and systemic – Heart disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Preterm Delivery in Pregnant Women. Research shows that certain oral bacteria triggers a substantial release of MMP-8 with serious systemic repercussions. Detecting MMP-8 level is therefore very useful for an early diagnosis of periodontal and peri-implant disease, as well as a clear indicator of the periodontal therapy efficacy.
Matrix Metalloproteinase-8 has been researched for the last fifty years but with the latest technological developments it can now be easily detected and quantified from the oral fluids: Saliva and Gingival Crevicular Fluid (GCF)
Here are just a few of the most important benefits:
- Pro-actively detect periodontal and systemic risks before healthy structures are damaged
- Able to prevent gum tissue recession, bone and tooth loss even before bleeding and tissue inflammation are occuring
- Precisely evaluate the efficiency of periodontal treatments. Patients receive independent feedback from an outside laboratory which confirms if the condition is improving or are they resistant to conventional therapy
- No more guessing and estimating the next prophylaxis appointment. We can empower our patients to self monitor their systemic and oral health status using a special take-home test, which will tell them when it is time to come in for a prophylaxis
- We work together with family doctors, gynaecologists and Kinderwunsch centres to monitor and prevent systemic inflammation for individuals with higher risk for destructive periodontal disease.
We can happy that now we can Objectively detect when the immune system is activated in fighting infection, even before we see it and after therapy, quantify how efficient the treatment was. It empowers our patients in preserving the oral and bodily health and prevent ageing.
As an integral part of the Individual Pro-Active Prophylaxis, the monitoring and quantification of the MMP8 and IL-6 (Interleukin 6) as well as the genetically-encoded predisposition for periodontal disease empower us to get closer to the ultimate goal for our patients: Stay Healthy, Naturally and Minimally-Invasive. It again reinforces the fact that modern dentistry is at the forefront of prevention through a Complete Body Approach.
Dr.-medic stom., D.D.S. (USA)