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Next generation periodontal probe

Rapid in situ detection of gum disease markers using high-precision nanofluidic devices

Published: 8th March 2021
Next generation periodontal probe
Source:, CC0


Gum disease is initiated by a build-up of plaque on the teeth, exacerbated by the body’s response to this and in severe cases can lead to tooth loss. Severe form of the disease affects ~10% of the population worldwide and is particularly prevalent in people over the age of 65. To detect gum disease, a dentist normally physically examines the gums and teeth. Such an examination does not provide much information about the course and progression of the disease and cannot provide early diagnosis for prevention of disease.

Technology Overview

The scientists at the University of Birmingham are developing a periodontal probe that allows rapid analysis for gum disease biomarkers from saliva sample or directly from the gingival crevice. Ultimately, the probe will use specially modified nanofluidic pipettes or chips that can perform sample collection, processing, and biomarker detection all-in-one. The biomarkers of gum disease are detected using a resistive pulse sensing technique, and thus the technology benefits from its high sensitivity, robustness and throughput.


  • Rapid – analysis of patient’s saliva can be performed while the patient is waiting to be seen by a doctor as a part of routine examination;
  • Better diagnosis – for higher precision, also can be performed by the trained dentist in the tiniest sample of gingival fluid for information on local points of inflammation;
  • Easily available – the method does not require expensive or elaborate equipment or ultra-specialist knowledge;
  • Significant cost reduction, as compared to ELISA analysis;
  • Variability – as a wide range of studied and novel biomarkers can be used for gum disease detection.


Rapid detection, quantification, and diagnosis of gum disease (gingivitis)


Collaboration and partnership for development

IP Status
  • Patent application submitted
  • Development partner