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Breakthrough in Preventive Dental Health Care

Dental Design Studio Teams Up With IMMY Labs to Develop Low-Cost, Noninvasive Test

A new salivary test from IMMY Labs offers a breakthrough in preventive dental health care. Patients can now be tested to see if they are at risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease and more through non-invasive saliva collection.

Dental Design Studio ( is administering the new test in hopes of locating underlying systemic diseases to provide patients with personalized treatment plans. Last year, Dental Design Studio approached IMMY Labs in hopes of developing a salivary diagnostic test that would provide results at a short turnaround time. After six to eight months of development, OraPath hit the market with guaranteed results 48 hours after saliva collection.

“Certain bacteria in the mouth are linked to Alzheimer’s, gastrointestinal disorders and cancer,” said Maggie Burroughs, business administrator at IMMY Labs. “If someone is showing oral markers for gum disease, inflammation or bleeding, by running the OraPath test, doctors and dentists can use the results to decrease the risk of systemic health concerns.”

A member of Maggie’s family was diagnosed with dementia, where oral health directly contributes to the disease’s progression. If OraPath had been available sooner, she believes there might have been a way to mitigate the symptoms of dementia. With tests now actively in use, IMMY Labs hopes to expand its availability to help patients across the nation.

“We want to make this as accessible as possible, because access to health care should not be dependent upon insurance,” Maggie said. “Even if it is a simple, diagnostic tool, it should still be available to those who need it.” 

At Dental Design Studio, Drs. Jennifer Jenkins and Sara Spurlock were accustomed to utilizing salivary diagnostics, yet the results were not as accurate or efficient as they would have liked. Their interest in developing new tests was spurred by the prevalence of diabetes in the state of Oklahoma.

“The test gives us conclusive evidence of what's happening in the patient's mouth,” Dr. Spurlock said. “Instead of just using clinical findings, we actually have lab test results that corroborate with what we’re seeing.”

Certain elevated pathogens are only consistent with diseases and are rarely present in a healthy mouth. When these are found, patients require personalized treatment plans to combat their systemic risk factors for disease.

Both dentists wanted to locate specific pathogens associated with both periodontal disease and systemic illnesses. With almost 60 different diseases currently being researched in conjunction with bacterial pathogens associated with periodontitis, the creation of OraPath serves as a risk assessment for patients.

“Our goal is always to make sure that we're providing the most up-to-date treatment options available,” Dr. Jenkins said. “After testing a patient's saliva, we can modify our treatment to add antibiotic therapy along with periodontal therapy to make sure that we're providing the best care for our patients.”

At Dental Design Studio, located at 561 Merchant Drive in Norman, patients have been receptive to the new salivary tests due to their non-invasive nature. By understanding the risks associated with particular bacteria in the mouth, patients now have access to information for maintaining proper oral health.

“What's happening in your mouth is just a glimpse of what's happening throughout your body,” Dr. Spurlock said. “We're just super passionate about helping people achieve health and making sure that our patients understand what their relative risks are. This test is just a really great way of making that possible.”

“We want to make this as accessible as possible, because access to health care should not be dependent upon insurance"

  • Brandon Neary and IMMY Labs president Scott Bauman

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