Most dentists seem to be in agreement now that the irritation of rough tartar deposits (calculus) which accumulate in the gum crevices causes the gum tissue to become inflamed and to attract bacteria. When these deposits are not thoroughly scaled from teeth by a dental hygienist or dentist, more and more calculus accumulates and more and more bacteria gather and live in the gum crevice. As the process continues, there occurs a gradual destruction of the gum fibers which hold the gum to the teeth. This is accompanied by an eating away of the bone which supports the tooth, an accumulation of even more numbers of bacteria, and a foulness of the breath.
If treatment is not instituted, the teeth will lose their bony support and eventually become very loose, and, if not extracted, will fall out of their own accord.
Dr. Price held views regarding pyorrhea similar to these, saying these were the beliefs of his time – but he added that the success of the removal of the various irritants did not explain the cause of the disease. He even stated that traumatic bite problems are irritants and they too must be corrected. the fact that he recognized bite problems as a contributing factor so long ago is extraordinary, as this had been given little attention until more recent times.
In trying to understand the various causative problems involved in periodontal disease, he studied the different theories and found only confusion and contradiction. Dr. Price then instigated an intensive study of this dental disease.
He took a new approach, one which included an exhaustive analysis of clinical data and a thorough, careful examination of the characteristics present in those people with the disease. He then related the information collected to the patients’ blood and saliva chemistries and to the bacteria he found present.
For a long time Dr. Price could not acept the findings of his own studies as they seemed so paradoxical and far-fetched. In the close study of some 1400 cases, he eventually classified dental infections into three main categories along with a few minor ones.
These studies indicated a person’s biological inheritance play a major role, as the disease was more likely to occur in those who had one or both parents with pyorrhea.
Another important finding was that the early treatment of periodontal disease resulted in a complete cure, if all tartar deposits and/or ill-fitting fillings were replaced. In advanced cases of pyorrhea, if the removal of the irritants was the only treatment employed, much less improvement took place.
With local topical treatment of early causes with medications, even when irritating deposits were not removed, there was also marked improvement.
Cases treated by the injection of bactericidal drugs likewise resulted in improvement when early treatment of the disease was undertaken.