Detection of oral spirochete (Treponema denticola) by modified Fontana staining technique from sub-gingival plaques of patients suffering from periodontal disease and to analyse the morphology of spirochetes with respect to the disease’s status

Sunil Paudel, Jyoti M. Nagamoti, Ved Prakash Mishra, Suraj Twanabasu, Susan Kusma


Background: Infections pertaining to mankind particularly those affecting the periodontal tissues are of serious concerns worldwide and are increasing on a global scale particularly in the tropical and subtropical countries like India. The clinical presentation, though very typical of periodontal infection, is often confused with other oral infection, making laboratory diagnosis and confirmation necessary. The management of periodontal infections needs personal hygiene, awareness of infection, proper diagnosis and medication. The present study was undertaken to demonstrate the oral spirochete (Treponema denticola) from periodontal pathogens suffering from periodontal disease.

Methods: A total of 55 clinically diagnosed selected patients of periodontal infection attending the outpatient Department of Periodontics, V. K. Institute of Dental Science, KLE University, Belgaum were studied. Dental plaque was taken as specimens from the patients were processed by modified Fontana staining and observed in microscope.  

Results: A total number of 55 plaque samples were stained by modified Fontana staining technique. 30 cases were positive and 25 cases were negative. Males were affected more as compared to the females and the age group ranging from 15 to 65. Farmers were more affected compared to other occupation.

Conclusions: Microscopic method by modified silver nitrate staining can be a very useful screening method for evaluation of oral spirochetes in a clinical setting if used judiciously keeping in mind the variables that can affect the results.


Spirochetes, Modified Fontana stain, Treponema denticola, Periodontal disease

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