Stamford Periodontics & Implant Center

Squid Ink: The New Periodontitis Detector

When visiting the dentist your teeth are checked for periodontal disease with the help of a periodontal probe, the little measuring-stick-like tool that dentists use to check for gum disease and to verify that your gum tissue is as healthy as it can be. 

Although this is a routine part of your dental check-up, many people experience a very unpleasant pain or at least, a slight discomfort, whilst some of them may even end up with bleeding gums. But thanks to a group of scientists from the University of California in San Diego you won’t necessarily have to endure this uncomfortable procedure for much longer as they have developed a gum-checking technique that’s not only more accurate but also completely painless and only involves a squid ink mouth rinse, which render the periodontal probing process almost completely useless.

Usually, the periodontal probe is pushed up underneath the gum at the base of each tooth, unless you gum tissue is not healthy; the probe won’t go further than a couple millimeters. However, if your gum tissue has retreated a lot, deep pockets probably formed between the gums and the surface of the teeth. Henceforth, the probe will be able to slide further.

Besides being time-consuming since every tooth needs to be checked individually, the process can be rather subjective too. Each different dentist will proceed with different pressure applied to the probe every tooth, therefore obtaining different reading.

With the squid ink procedure, all the hassle will be eliminated as patients will only have to rinse their mouth with a mixture of commercially available food-grade squid ink, water and cornstarch. The action of the capillary will get any gum pockets soaked in the squid ink mixture and stay there after rinsing and spitting out. With the help of LED light or a laser pulse, the light-absorbing melanin nanoparticles in the squid ink will heat up and expand, producing an acoustic signal that can be detected by an ultrasound transducer to create an accurate image of the pockets. Then, the ink can be removed from the gums through standard tooth-brushing.

Although the technology -at the moment– has been proven successful on tested pig models with the use of a handheld transducer, the truth is that researchers expect to develop a mouthpiece that would deliver a light signal to all of the teeth at once in the very near future. With that method all of the pockets can be measured simultaneously without any ambivalences when it comes to the size or depth of the pockets.

Whilst clinical trials on humans are planned and the potential subjects of study get prepared, the mixture is being tweaked to change the bitter and salty taste it presents so far.

Here at Stamford Periodontics, we are pleased to provide the highest quality of periodontal treatment to Fairfield County through our expert gum disease dentist Fairfield County, CT, and also Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Westport, Fairfield, Norwalk, Wilton, and Ridgefield. Make your appointment today at 203.252.2252.


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Phone: 203.252.2252
Address: 47 Oak Street, Stamford, CT 06905


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