Some of the readers of this blog know that I have an extreme interest in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. I have always enjoyed science going back to my childhood and I was very fortunate to have some really wonderful mentors in dentistry who introduced me to the diagnosis and treatment of perio disease. A couple of these mentors were Dr. Omer Reed and Dr. Perry Radcliffe. Although I am not a clinician, I find the subject of perio disease quite fascinating.
In the 1980’s Dr. Reed, a General Dentist, and Dr. Radcliffe collaborated together to teach a course titled, ‘People without Perio’. The purpose of this course was to teach conservative treatment techniques that would identify perio disease in its earliest stages and treat the issues before they resulted in more damage. Drs. Reed and Radcliffe used phase contrast microscopy to take a sample from the patient’s mouth to identify pathogenic bacteria in the mouth. While the science was limited in the 1980’s, the microscope turned out to be a very useful patient education tool. When the patients saw the squirming ‘bugs’ under the microscope they realized they needed more than a cleaning.
Fast forward to 2011 and today the science of diagnosing and treating perio disease has advanced greatly. Today, thanks to the pioneering research of Dr. Sigmund S. Socransky we understand much more about the etiology of periodontal disease. Dr. Socransky served as the Director of The Forsythe Institute for many years. The Forsythe Institute is one of the leading non-profit centers for dental and craniofacial research in the world. In his work, Dr. Socransky combined the fields of oral Microbiology, Immunology, and Periodontology to understand more about how the mouth is connected to overall health. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Socransky provided some pioneering research in the identification and classification of the pathogenic bacteria contributing to periodontal disease. Dr. Socransky was a real giant in the fields of Oral Microbiology and Periodontology.
Sadly I learned recently that Dr. Sigmund S. Socransky passed away in late August. Below is a link of a Letter written by the President of The Forsythe Institute honoring Dr. Socransky.
Here is a link of a video that Dr. Socransky made discussing the developments in his profession over his career, spanning a half century. If you have any interest in the diagnosis and treatment of perio disease I think you will find this video fascinating.
Our profession owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. Sig Socransky. He was the consummate research scientist committed finding answers to questions worth answering. He will be missed! Keep Smiling!