This Week in Perio
Nov. 24, 2010

Radiation worries for children in dentists' chairs
The New York Times
Because children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to radiation, doctors three years ago mounted a national campaign to protect them by reducing diagnostic radiation to only those levels seen as absolutely necessary. It is a message that has resonated in many clinics and hospitals. Yet there is one busy place where it has not: the dental office. Not only do most dentists continue to use outmoded X-ray film requiring higher amounts of radiation, but orthodontists and other specialists are embracing a new scanning device that emits significantly more radiation than conventional methods, an examination by The New York Times has found. Designed for dental offices, the device, called a cone-beam CT scanner, provides brilliant 3-D images of teeth, roots, jaw and even skull.More

Study: Lactobacillus reuteri Prodentis effective in periodontitis treatment
The study shows that L. reuteri Prodentis acts synergistically with standard treatment to significantly reduce probing pocket depth (and clinical attachment level. Furthermore, L. reuteri Prodentis reveals — as the first probiotic ever — significant reductions of three different pathogens in patients with chronic periodontitis. The study also confirms the anti-inflammatory effects of L. reuteri Prodentis on gum inflammation. Thirty chronic periodontitis patients were included in the double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial that lasted for 42 days. On day 0 the teeth in one half of the mouth were treated with SRP; whereas, the teeth in the other half were left untreated. From day 21 to day 42 the patients were supplemented with either L. reuteri Prodentis lozenges or placebo lozenges twice daily.More

Study: n-3 fatty acids and periodontitis in US adults
Journal of the American Dietetic Association
In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, a nationally representative sample, higher dietary intakes of DHA and, to a lesser degree, EPA, were associated with lower prevalence of periodontitis. Interventional studies are needed to confirm the potential protective effects of n-3 fatty acids on periodontitis.More

Clinical trial finds growth factor regenerates tooth supporting structures
Medical News Today
It is well known that oral infection progressively destroys periodontal tissues and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. A major goal of periodontal treatment is regeneration of the tissues lost to periodontitis. Unfortunately, most current therapies cannot predictably promote repair of tooth-supporting defects. A variety of regenerative approaches have been used clinically using bone grafts and guiding tissue membranes with limited success. In an article titled "FGF-2 Stimulates Periodontal Regeneration: Results of a Multicenter Randomized Clinical Trial," M. Kitamura, from Osaka University Graduate School of Dentistry, Japan, and a team of researchers conducted a human clinical trial to determine the safety and effectiveness of fibroblast growth factor-2 for clinical application.More

Stem cell scientists seek way to grow teeth
The Boston Globe
First, it was cord blood. Now, baby teeth? For centuries, people have been discarding body fluids and tissues that scientists now are examining as possible sources of stem cells for medical applications. And already, companies are selling parents pricey storage services, based on the bet that such cells will be useful in the future. In laboratories across Boston, scientists are investigating the power of stem cells found in teeth. Researchers at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine are using such cells to generate dental pulp that could one day provide an alternative for root canals. At Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, scientists are working on growing teeth and investigating how zebra fish are able to regrow teeth.More

Alaska study supports employment of dental therapists
Dental Tribune International
Dental therapists can offer appropriate dental health care for underserved populations, a U.S. study has confirmed. The two-year evaluation of a dental therapists program in Alaska claims to support the fact that therapists can perform basic procedures, like sealant placement and filling preparations, which can help overcome significant shortages of dental professionals in rural areas. Dental therapists currently are used to perform dentist tasks in many countries including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Besides Montana, Alaska has been the first U.S. state to allow therapists to provide higher dental care.More

BPA: It's time to ask the right questions
Bisphenol A has hit the news once again, and the American Dental Association has confirmed that many popular root canal sealers contain BPA. In October, Health Canada declared BPA toxic, making it easier for the government to regulate the use of the chemical. And earlier this year, the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences launched 11 new animal studies to investigate the possible effects of BPA, and the Food and Drug Administration issued new cautions to consumers recommending they limit their exposure to BPA. What is BPA? It is an organic compound that contains two phenol groups. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Dianne Glasscoe Watterson: Fabricating periodontal problems
Dear Dianne, I've been a dental hygienist for 15 years. For 12 years, I worked with a wonderful doctor who was kind, fair, considerate and very ethical. His sudden, tragic death was devastating to everyone who knew him. His practice was eventually sold, and I found work in a different office during the transition. My problem is that my current employer often diagnoses periodontal disease and recommends root planing/scaling without demonstrating pocket depths or bone loss. He has the idea that anything that measures 4 millimeters or more requires periodontal treatment.More

Genesis implant system set for US market
Keystone Dental Inc. has announced U.S. regulatory clearance of Genesis: The Biomimetic Implant System. The Genesis System represents a major advance in implant dentistry through its biomimetic design — a design inspired by nature. The unique benefits of the Genesis System include the potential to achieve immediate function with a natural looking smile, allowing the patient to leave the dentist's office with a replacement tooth on the day of surgery. First used more than 30 years ago, dental implants primarily have focused on restoring the function of natural teeth. Today, the Genesis System goes beyond simply restoring function.More

New oral cancer booklet tackles taboos
A new guide to treating oral cancer warn dentists that patients are now taking legal action against dentists alleging failure to detect the condition. It also explores taboos around the practitioner's right to explore patients' lifestyle choices that can cause oral cancer, such as drinking, smoking and chewing tobacco, and offers advice on how to overcome them. The British Dental Association has published this practical guide to help dental professionals combat the growing problem of oral cancer. It reiterates the importance of the early detection of the condition, stressing the improved chances of patient survival in cases where early diagnosis takes place. The proportion of patients with oral cancer who die is higher than for cervical, breast or prostate cancers, the guide points out.More

How to get the most from a small business social media presence
Today's reality is that your business needs to be on social media, but the mere existence of your business on sites like Facebook and Twitter doesn't guarantee a single sale — or even a single referral. In order for businesses to succeed in the social media space, they need to be properly educated on what works and what doesn't. More importantly, business owners need to have realistic goals about what they'll get out of social media. When the right tools are used effectively with the right motives in mind, social media can have a huge impact on small business marketing and customer service efforts.More

Oral review: Dentists do more than check for cavities
Des Moines Register
Warren Bruce visits the dentist every six months to stay on top of any dental problems that may arise. "I think it's important so I can take care of my teeth. They can address any other issues I have and do a good oral overview," said Bruce, 47, of Des Moines. Because of his dental habits, he's avoided major problems, other than a crown and a few fillings. Dr. Katherine Elsner, a dentist at University Dental Care where Bruce is a patient, says it's important to keep up on your dental health. "Have a relationship with a dental professional who knows your medical and dental history. Keep up with your appointments because it's not only your teeth we're looking at," Elsner said.More