10 Questions: OralDNA Labs

March 21, 2012
Issue 1

01 OralDNA® Labs is relatively new to the dental industry. Can you provide a little background? The company was formed in May 2008 in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood, Tenn., by an experienced group of health care and business professionals whose specialty is in establishing and managing diagnostic laboratories. In May of 2009 OralDNA® Labs was acquired by Quest Diagnostics®.

01 OralDNA® Labs is relatively new to the dental industry. Can you provide a little background?

The company was formed in May 2008 in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood, Tenn., by an experienced group of health care and business professionals whose specialty is in establishing and managing diagnostic laboratories. In May of 2009 OralDNA® Labs was acquired by Quest Diagnostics®.

02 What is the mission of OralDNA Labs?

Our mission is to advance wellness in dentistry through salivary diagnostics. We strive to accomplish this by providing reliable, accurate and cost effective clinical tests that will enable dental professionals to detect disease at an earlier, more treatable stage.

03 How does your history and experience benefit the company?

I have more than 16 years of executive management experience in the health care services industry, which at times included integrated responsibility for sales, marketing and customer service. I understand the clinical laboratory business model and see it becoming a standard in the dental industry as it has in medicine.

04 Could you briefly explain DNA-PCR testing?

It’s a process that extracts DNA from the patient’s saliva sample, which is taken by the dental professional and sent to our laboratory in Brentwood. At the lab, the DNA sample is duplicated to derive an optimal amount of genetic material for analysis to identify pathogenic bacteria and viruses, as well as genetic polymorphisms.

05 How can salivary diagnostic tests help reduce the growing numbers of those afflicted with periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is more prevalent because it is under diagnosed, especially when using visual examination exclusively. Salivary diagnostic testing, when used as an adjunct to a visual examination, can identify a periodontal infection at its earliest stages and detect the bacteria causing it. Salivary diagnostics also can identify patients who are genetically predisposed to developing severe periodontal disease.

06 Tell us more about MyPerioPath® and MyPerioID® PST®.

MyPerioPath® helps the clinician provide earlier and more accurate diagnosis of existing periodontal disease by identifying and measuring specific types of bacteria, while MyPerioID® PST® assesses a patient’s genetic predisposition to developing periodontal disease.

07 There has been a lot of publicity lately regarding the possible link between the oral HPV virus and oral cancer. What is the dentist’s role in early detection and prevention?

The dentist and hygienist always have been on the front line of oral cancer detection as they routinely examine the oral cavity for suspicious lesions or signs of disease. In the past, knowing a patient used tobacco or alcohol would be enough to put them in the high risk category. Now with more than half of new oral cancer cases being attributed to the oral HPV virus, the high risk profile has changed and new screening tools are needed.

08 How does the OraRisk® HPV Test work?

The OraRisk HPV test is a non-invasive, easy-to-use screening tool to identify the type(s) of oral HPV. This salivary diagnostic test provides the dental clinician with the ability to establish risk for HPV-related cancers of the oral, head and neck regions, and in turn, determine appropriate referral and monitoring conditions.

09 How do you educate practices about the importance of using OralDNA Labs’ salivary diagnostic tests and in turn, help them educate their patients?

OralDNA Labs has hired a team of clinical specialists (hygienists) who are spread throughout the U.S. and can visit dental practices to train staff and help them begin using salivary diagnostic tests on a day-to-day basis. We also have developed numerous educational tools and patient brochures to help office implementation.

10 What can we expect from OralDNA Labs in 2011?

We are constantly evaluating new and better ways to help dental clinicians use saliva to improve patient health. Salivary diagnostics has never been more poised for mainstream adoption and we envision 2011 will be another banner year for OralDNA Labs.