Recent discoveries about polymicrobial biofilms are both disturbing and thought provoking. Dental diseases are not classic infections. New molecular techniques demonstrate caries and periodontal disease are manifestations of dramatic, sustained shifts in microbial ecology that overwhelm the host immune system.

Microbes, once thought to be key in these disease processes, may play a minor role, while relatively unknown species, or even the entire microbial community, may be responsible for increased virulence, sustained acid production,
enhanced inflammation and continued tissue destruction.

Homeostasis still remains the ultimate goal, but new disease concepts like dysbiosis, microbial consortiums, inflammophilic bacteria, commensal pathobionts and keystone pathogens are changing the conversation and challenging how dental disease is viewed today.

- Appreciate the difference between classic infections and dysbiosis
- Discover how commensal microbes become pathobionts
- Learn how enamel and dentin caries differ ecologically
- Understand the role of keystone pathogens and inflammophilic microbes in periodontal disease

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