South Shore Long Island
Periodontics & Implantology P.C.
Dr. Leslie G. Batnick, D.D.S.
Dr. Lois B. Levine, D.D.S.
Dr. Joo H. Kim, D.D.S.
Diplomates, American Board of Periodontology

Microbiological Culture & Sensitivity Testing

At South Shore Long Island Periodontics & Implantology, we always want to provide our patients with the most appropriate treatment for their individualized needs. When we are treating periodontal disease, it’s important to keep in mind that this is in fact a chronic infection caused by bacteria.

If your treatment isn’t proceeding as we would expect or if we see other signs that lead us to suspect that you may have an infection caused by an unusual strain of bacteria, we may recommend microbiological culture and sensitivity testing.

This testing allows us to determine precisely which bacteria are causing your infection as well as which antibiotics they are sensitive to. In turn, this allows us to treat the infection by precisely targeting the bacteria.

Why Target Specific Bacteria?

Certain bacteria are susceptible to certain medications. We don't want to waste time using antibiotics that aren't going to be effective on the type of bacteria that are present. By taking a culture of the infection, we can determine what type of bacteria are causing the problem as well as the quantity that are present. This allows us to prescribe the most effective antibiotic in the most appropriate dose when indicated.

Using Antibiotics When Indicated

An additional concern we have is that antibiotics can have a number of systemic side effects as well as local effects. You may have experienced some of these yourself in the past. Some of the most common side effects associated with antibiotics include rashes, diarrhea, nausea, and yeast infections. Many people also have strong allergies to certain antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics leads to the development of treatment-resistant bacteria.

These are all reasons why we want to limit the use of antibiotics – or at least use them judiciously. When we know exactly which type of bacteria we are trying to target and which antibiotic is most effective, we use antibiotics responsibly. One of our responsibilities as health care providers is conducting a benefits-risk analysis. In this case, when we know that the antibiotic we prescribe is going to be highly effective, some risk of side effects is acceptable.

Periodontal disease is a serious condition, and requires effective treatment. Without treatment, the disease progresses and you may lose your teeth, which sets off another group of problems. Additionally, periodontal disease is associated with chronic systemic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory disease.

Your health matters, and microbial culture and sensitivity testing can be a key step in our ultimate goal of helping you maintain it.