Laurence Walsh leads the research program in advanced technologies at the UQ Oral Health Centre. As a clinical specialist in special needs dentistry, he has pioneered the use of simple saliva tests within the framework of minimal intervention dentistry for the management of common oral conditions.
Chairside salivary diagnostics for assessing the risk of oral diseases
|This presentation reviews the currently available salivary diagnostic systems used in clinical dental practice to screen patients for dental caries, dental erosion and periodontal pathogens.
Results: The most widely employed diagnostics for saliva testing measure salivary flow, pH and buffer capacity, and compare resting and stimulated saliva. Tests for lactobacilli and mutans streptococci using culture-based methods (selective media) are available, as well as immunoassay tests for key pathogens such as S. mutans and P. gingivalis. Tests for acid production from dental plaque are also in common use. There are ADA item codes (047 and 048) to reimburse dentists for the use of salivary diagnostics, and their use is taught in dental and hygiene schools.
Conclusion: Collection and assessment of samples of saliva is a standard part of clinical dental practice for dentists and mid-level providers of oral health services in the ANZ region.