Laser-Focused Questions with Tanya Dunlap
Tanya Dunlap, PhD is the Managing Director at Perio Protect, LLC an ALD Gold Sponsor that markets a comprehensive treatment method customized for individual patients to help manage biofilms growing in periodontal pockets. We recently caught up with Tanya to discuss the Perio Protect Method and how it compliments laser therapy used in treating periodontal disease.
Q. It seems that you are the company ambassador. What is your role?
A. My work ranges from research coordination to training and CE development to marketing. When I’m on the road representing Perio Protect, as I was at the ALD conference when we met, I’m sharing the important implications of the research data with clinicians and I’m networking to make sure that we are meeting the needs of Perio Protect providers.
Q. Could you briefly describe Perio Protect and its method of action?
A. Perio Protect developed a new therapy for adjunctive periodontal care based on a custom fabricated Perio Tray® that seals to the gums to comfortably deliver medication into periodontal pockets. Patients use this tray therapy just 10-15 minutes a day in the comfort of their own home to maintain the gains from periodontal therapy. This is the most comprehensive, effective and easiest homecare you can offer your perio patients after laser therapy.
Q. What was the discovery that lead to the development of The Perio Protect Method?
A. The Perio Tray® itself is innovative (it can deliver medication into >7mm pockets), but the turn away from antibiotics was the real paradigm shift for the profession. There are so many limitations with antibiotic care.
Peroxide is one of two substances that can easily penetrate a biofilm matrix (chlorine is the other). As an antimicrobial, it works by breaking down protein chains and can debride a bacterial cell wall, which is basically a series of proteins linked together, killing bacteria. But peroxide needs time to work. It has to be held in place. That is why the Perio Tray® is important.
When the peroxide is held deep into periodontal pockets via the Perio Tray®, it also releases oxygen, changing the microenvironment of the periodontal pockets. With the shift to a more aerobic microbial ecology, the bacteria that repopulate tend to be healthy bacteria at the expense of pathogens.
Q. What type of success can be expected when using “The Method”
A. Reductions in bleeding, inflammation, and pocket depths are the most noted clinical successes. Reductions in supragingival plaque are also recorded. Patients will first notice fresher breath. This happens within 3 days. After 5 weeks of treatment, significantly whiter teeth are apparent. Both the fresher breath and whiter teeth motivate patients to stick with the homecare.
These results are primarily due to the peroxide, but you need the right formulation. Peroxide products are not all equal. The formulation matters. Other drugs have been successfully administered with the Perio Tray® to stabilize bone and to address desquamative gingivitis. Fluoride has also been prescribed to help patients with xerostomia.
Q. How does Perio Protect support its dentist-clients?
A. We start with personalized training and attention to help dental teams develop and achieve specific goals. We provide precisely fabricated Perio Trays and specially formulate peroxide gel. We support offices with patient educational tools and practice marketing materials including free newsletters, monthly blogs, and social media posts.
We also strive to improve clinical practice. Recently, Perio Protect developed a new pathogen test with Next Generation Sequencing by MicroGenDx. We’re also testing Perio Tray® therapy on implant care. There is good data to support using Perio Trays® to address peri-implantitis and mucositis, but we want to learn more.
Q. Is Perio Protect an alternative to locally-administered and systemic antibiotics? Can it help reduce the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance?
A. Antibiotics have an important place in dental care, but their efficacy is significantly limited against biofilm-based diseases like periodontitis. The rise in bacterial resistances to antibiotics makes them even less effective. Side effects, like Clostridium difficile infections, from systemic doses pose additional challenges.
The Perio Protect approach allows clinicians to select the best medication for individual patients, but the ability to change the microenvironment of the pockets via the oxygenating action of peroxide gives the clinician – and the patient – the opportunity to achieve and sustain health.
You are never going to kill all the bacteria and you don’t want to. You want healthy bacteria and a healthy microbiome. Hydrogen peroxide is bio-compatible (it’s in our white blood cells), it reduces the bacterial load, and it oxygenates. When you harness the power of peroxide deep in periodontal pockets with Perio Protect, you can manipulate the microbial ecology away from disease to health and healing.
Q. How is Perio Protect used as an adjunct to laser therapy for the treatment of periodontal disease? What would be the typical Dental Laser/Perio Protect protocol?
A. The easiest protocol following laser therapy is using Perio Trays and Perio Gel® (1.7% hydrogen peroxide, QNT Anderson, Bismarck, ND) twice a day for 15 minutes for two weeks, dropping to once a day for long-term maintenance.
Q. How was your experience as an exhibitor at the recent ALD conference and exhibition? What did you think of 2019 conference theme, “The Laser-Systemic Connection?”
A. It’s very exciting to witness the shift in dentistry to systemic health. The best part of my job is reviewing cases studies. Many that come across my desk document improvements in periodontal and systemic health, highlighting the importance of periodontal care. ALD’s focus on “The Laser-Systemic Connection” helps keep periodontal care front and center where it needs to be. As an exhibitor this year, it was encouraging to meet so many clinicians looking to improve their practice with better periodontal care. I invite all readers in the US and Canada to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org to learn first-hand how we can help you too.