Today's Dental News

Study of Dentists’ Usage of Amalgam Reveals Unexpected Results

American dentists are utilizing more amalgam restorations than composites, according to the results of two studies in the June issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

The results are surprising, considering the improvements in resin-based technology and the possible harmful effects of amalgam. Despite this information, amalgam is still a material utilized by dental schools.

Dr. Sonia K. Makhija, an assistant professor of dentistry at the University of Alabama, and her team analyzed nearly 5,600 restorations of carious lesions in the posterior teeth. Amalgam was used in more than 3,000 of the restorations, while composite was used for the rest. This study focused solely on amalgam and composite, not any other material.

Read more: Study of Dentists’ Usage of Amalgam Reveals Unexpected Results


Dentists May Soon Monitor More than Oral Health

Dentists in Great Britain are being asked to check on more than just their patients’ oral health.

In addition to their regular dental duties, these dentists may also monitor a patient’s eating habits, checking to see if the patient is maintaining a healthy diet. The dentists may also administer tests involving checking for STDs like Chlamydia.

These changes are being made because poor dental health may lead to subpar overall health. If these steps are taken, if will only result in a healthier population.

Read more: Dentists May Soon Monitor More than Oral Health


Women Tend to Have Better Oral Health than Men

Women maintain better oral health than men, based on a recent study of 800 men and women.

The information was generated after the study participants answered a questionnaire about oral health and underwent an oral exam. Women around 18 or 19 years old were at a much lower risk for any possible oral health issue.

Women are twice as likely to schedule two dental appointments each year and keep them as scheduled, compared to men. Women also were more likely to change the way they maintain their oral health based on what happened during the dental visit. The overall oral health of men also paled in comparison to the oral health of women.

Read more: Women Tend to Have Better Oral Health than Men


Dentistry Enables FBI to Capture Fugitive

Dentistry, along with the American Dental Association, contributed to the capture of the one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives. James “Whitey” Bulger was taken into custody last week in California with his long-time girlfriend Catherine Greig.

Bulger was alleged to have been a crime boss in the Boston area and fled 16 years ago to avoid apprehension.

To aid in the long search to find him, the FBI contacted the ADA in 2007 to notify dentists that a fugitive may be looking for a dentist. The FBI believed Bulger may make a trip to the dentist because Greig was a dental hygienist and wanted to keep up on her oral health.

Read more: Dentistry Enables FBI to Capture Fugitive


Scientists Discover Methods Bacteria Use to Cause Cavities, Invade Heart

Scientists may have made a breakthrough discovery regarding cavity-causing bacteria and the impact it has on the heart. With this information, there may be some kind of test—using saliva or a cheek swab—to determine a patient’s susceptibility to endocarditis, a lethal, bacteria-causing infection of the heart.

The June issue of Infection explains how the Streptococcus mutans gains entry into the heart tissue. These bacteria inhabit dental plaque, and eventually maintain a place in the oral cavity while eroding teeth.

The bacteria generally stay in the mouth, but there are cases in which it enters the bloodstream during a dental procedure or while flossing. The immune system eradicates the bacteria most of the time, but it’s possible for the bacteria to move onto the heart tissue. If the result is inflamed heart valves, the condition may be fatal.

Read more: Scientists Discover Methods Bacteria Use to Cause Cavities, Invade Heart


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