Photoacoustic Imaging for Periodontal Probing Depth

Engineering research at the University of California San Diego has led to a technique that could update how teeth and gums are imaged. Researchers combined squid ink with light and ultrasound to create a new dental imaging method to examine a patient’s gums in a more comprehensive and accurate way than existing methods and also non-invasive way. The image can show the entire pocket depth around teeth consistent and accurately without prodding the gums of the patient. The conventional method for dentists to assess gum health is to use an instrument called a periodontal probe which is a thin, hook-like metal tool that is marked like a tiny measuring stick and inserted in between the teeth and gums to see if the gums have shrunk back from the teeth, creating pockets. This method of measuring pocket depth is considered a … Read more

Common Types of Teeth Injuries and Their Solutions

Although teeth are naturally resilient, they can face some problems like gum disease and tooth decay. These types of dental problems can badly damage your tooth. In the worst case scenario,  you may even lose them! However, there are some external dangers that can injure your teeth as well. Fortunately, there are treatments available which can help fix them and can decrease the chance of losing them. It is best to frequently visit your dentist for a regular checkup. Some of the common dental injuries are as follows: Fractured or Chipped Teeth Your tooth can be fractured easily especially during sports (when receiving an abrupt blow to the face). A report by the National Youth Safety Foundation says that if athletes don’t wear mouth guards for some sports, they have a 60 percent more chance of damaging their teeth. Moreover, … Read more

Informed Consent in Dentistry: Can Change Impact Personal Injury Cases?

An excellent article appears in the Spring 2017 edition of the The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (vol. 45, pp. 77-94) written by Kevin I. Reid titled “Informed Consent in Dentistry.” The article discusses how informed consent is respecting the ethical right of an individual to make decisions about one’s body and only have actions undertaken on their body with authorization without undue influence. In order for informed consent to be considered valid in dentistry the following must occur: (1) the patient is competent and has the ability and capacity to understand and decide, (2) the dentist discloses material information, (3) the patient understands, (4) the patient is voluntarily entering the arrangement, and (5) the patient provides authorization to go ahead. Every patient however comes to a different degree of understanding to authorize treatment based on their prior dental experiences, education, motivation, attention, … Read more

Dental X-rays Show Vitamin D Deficiency

McMaster anthropologists have found that human teeth hold important information about Vitamin D deficiency which can be identified by a dental X-ray. The researchers had previously discovered that human teeth hold a detailed and permanent record of Vitamin D deficiency. The teeth show microscopic deformities in dentin. This is preserved by enamel which protect teeth from breaking down. Vitamin D deficiency often occurs when a human does not get enough exposure to sunlight. This work is useful for examining the teeth of people who lived years ago to see if they were ever deprived of sunlight and had Vitamin D deficiency. An issue when looking for teeth deformities currently is that that a tooth must be cut open and there are limited teeth the researchers had access to. To avoid wasting specimens, the researchers tried to find a way to … Read more

Preventing Tooth Cavities with an Inhibitor

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have created a small molecule that prevents tooth cavities in a preclinical model. The inhibitor blocks the function of an enzyme in an oral bacterium and prevents it from forming biofilms. Specifically the inhibitor causes Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) which is the prime bacterium that causes tooth decay and dental cavities, to not make the sticky bioflim that has it glue to a tooth surface. The selective inhibition of the sticky biofilm acts against S. mutans reduced dental caries in rats fed a diet intended to promote cavities. The glucan biofilm is made by three S. mutans glucosyltransferase (Gtf) enzymes. It is know what the crystal structure of the GtfC glucosyltransferase is, and the researchers used the structure to run numerous computer simulations for drug-like compounds for binding at the enzyme’s active site. Ninety compounds with diverse … Read more