A recent discovery may push dental stem cell research to a new level.

Researchers at Inserm and Paris Descartes University isolated dental stem cell lines and discovered the natural mechanism that they use to repair lesions in the teeth. This discovery could make way for unprecedented therapeutic strategies to mobilize resident dental stem cells and enable their natural ability to repair.

The information appears in the journal Stem Cells.

The research team for this study successfully extracted and isolated tooth stem cells by working on the pulp from a mouse molar. Based on this information, the research team managed to conduct a full analysis of the five specific receptors for dopamine and serotonin.

The fact that these receptors were there meant that these stem cells could respond to the presence of dopamine and serotonin in the event of a lesion. The researchers then were curious as to what was the source of the neurotransmitters, which they later found out were blood platelets. These neurotransmitters recruit the stem cells to repair the tooth after they are initially released. The final piece of evidence came when they realized the dental repair did not occur in rats with modified platelets that don’t produce serotonin or dopamine.

The researchers later attempted to create categories for the various receptors they discovered. One of the five receptors had no impact on the repair process while the other four did.

Based on the information from this study, the researchers can now move to analyzing human stem cells to try to find new methods for repairing teeth.

A recent study of children’s teeth from 19th century cemeteries showed that the biochemical composition of teeth was extremely telling about the mother’s health.

A group of researchers from the Universities of Bradford and Durham analyzed the teeth from a cemetery in Ireland and one in London. The teeth provided a great deal of insight, including showing the difference between the infants who died and those who lived past early childhood.

These findings appeared in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. The results matched up with people from the Iron Age and in Neolithic Shetland. More studies of children’s teeth will be conducted in Bradford and Sudan.

If some of the same patterns persist in modern-day mothers and children, the researchers would like to form a basic test that would be performed on babies to determine possible health problems in adulthood.

Levels of carbon and nitrogen isotopes within bone and teeth change with different diets, which is why baby teeth can reveal clues about the diet of the mother during pregnancy and the child’s diet right after he or she is born. The first permanent molar forms around the time of birth and is retained into adulthood. Each layer of tooth equals about four months of growth. These indicators also are present when determining if a baby has been breastfed.

The results of the analysis from one of the cemeteries turned out to be the opposite of what you would think. The babies who possessed higher nitrogen isotope levels at birth didn’t live into adulthood while those who survived had lower and more stable nitrogen isotope levels. The results from the Victorians buried in London showed the same results.

This information led the researchers to conclude that higher nitrogen isotope levels showed that the mothers were malnourished and dealt with stress. In light of this information, the researchers are analyzing 13,500 children born between 2007 and 2010 and tracking their health through childhood and into adulthood. Ideally this study will show definitive evidence that there’s a correlation between nitrogen/carbon isotope levels and the medical history of the mother and future health of the children.

A new study performed by J.B. Ludlow and J. Koivisto has found that dentists can reduce the amount of patient radiation from Planmeca ProMax CBCT products without losing the diagnostic quality of images*. This research is published in the April issue of Journal of the International Association of Dental Research. Researchers from University Of North Carolina School Of Dentistry tested the imaging units to determine if reduced radiation exposure would result in a reduction in diagnostic quality of CBCT images taken. Dose values were noted using various combinations of field size and exposure parameters necessary for children and adult settings in typical orthodontic diagnostic practices using the Planmeca ProMax CBCT Ultra-Low Dose protocol. According to Planmeca, its ProMax units are designed to reduce patient radiation; this helps dentists comply with the ALARA principle of radiation exposure (also known as “As Low As Reasonably Achievable”) and the Image Gently campaign, which emphasizes the importance of imaging at a lower dose for pediatric patients. The study examined images taken using the ProMax’s CBCT Ultra-low Dose protocol with standard exposures. Images were taken at 24 locations in a 10-year old child phantom in addition to an adult phantom, with multiple exposures made for each imaging location. Dosimeters were read three times and dosimeter values were adjusted for sensitivity of dosimeters to affect kV or X-ray source. The study found that using the Ultra-Low Dose (ULD) protocol resulted in an average of 77% reduction in radiation exposure when compared with standard imaging protocols. The researchers also found that while the imaging methods reduced radiation exposure, they found no “statistical reduction in image quality between ULD and standard protocols, suggesting that patient doses can be reduced without loss of diagnostic quality.” “In my opinion, the ULD images acquired by the Planmeca ProMax in this study meet the standards of the ALARA radiation safety principle as well as the Image Gently campaign,” comments Dr. Jack Fisher, professor of dentistry and orthodontics at Vanderbilt University School of Dentistry. “Why would anyone take a 2D image with this amount of exposure when they can get a 3D image with excellent diagnostic quality at an ultra-low dose of radiation?” The study was supported, in part, by a grant from the NIDCR. *According to “Dosimetry of Orthodontic Diagnostic FOVs Using Low Dose CBCT Protocol.” For copies of this study, please contact Planmeca at (855) 245-2908.

Mouth bacteria can lead to heart disease more often than one would think.

A recent study in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism highlighted the importance of keeping the mouth free of bacteria as a way to avoid catching other diseases. The study was conducted by the Forsythe Institute and, if all goes well, new approaches to treating oral bacteria could be uncovered.

Inflammation is a major factor in issues such as periodontitis and cardiovascular disease. One of the problems with current treatment is that some over-the-counter options result in major cardiovascular side effects.

One of the ways to combat this issue could be by prescribing a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as atorvastatin, which raises blood levels of anti-inflammatory molecules called lipoxins and resolvins. This serves as a way to thwart periodontal and cardiovascular inflammation while reversing other diseases present in humans.

Thanks to this study and others, there have been many recent findings of natural pathways that resolve inflammation and provide insight into disease pathogenesis. This helps to offer new pharmacologic targets for treatment of oral and cardiovascular infections.

The goal of future studies will be to analyze how effective inflammation-reducing molecules will be in stopping or limiting periodontitis or cardiovascular disease. Also, it may be possible to determine the specific impact one of these conditions has on the other. To avoid worrying about any of these issues, it’s best if people maintain solid oral health.

Technology may soon be used to monitor teeth grinding.

A group of researchers in Ireland created a mouth guard that can relay information to a smartphone, in addition to a dentist, to pinpoint problems related to bruxism.

The goal of this mouth guard is to fight against tooth wear and tear. Also, the researchers wanted to curb problems like headaches, migraines, and TMJ disorder, which are issues that stem from grinding teeth while sleeping.

There aren’t as many tests as there should be for bruxism, which is one of the reasons the device was created. Prior to the availability of current technology, a mouth guard such as this one could not possibly be made.

For now, the mouth guard will be targeted for dentists but patients will pay for it.

The mouth guard is worn during sleep and activity is detected by hundreds of tiny sensors. The information is then sent to the user’s smartphone through an app that enables the dentist to see the data. The objective is for the dentist to easily confirm cases of bruxism through the app.

Convergent Dental Inc., a privately held dental equipment and technology company, today announced it has entered a distribution partnership with Darby Dental Supply, LLC, the largest all-telesales national distributor of dental merchandise. The power of Solea, the first FDA-approved, CO2 9.3 micron dental laser for hard and soft tissue ablation, is now just a phone call away for practitioners. The dental distributor fulfills over one million shipments from leading dental product and equipment manufacturers per year and is a strong partner to help more practitioners increase their efficiency, decrease chair time and grow their revenues with Solea.

“We are proud to expand our product line with Convergent Dental’s cutting-edge Solea dental laser,” said Darby Dental Supply’s Director of Marketing Robert Brennan. “Solea provides a unique opportunity for dentists to perform virtually anesthesia-free and blood-free procedures, a capability that improves both profitability and patient experience.”

Darby Dental Supply’s “one customer at a time” philosophy has made the company one of the largest, most trusted dental distributors in the nation. The company employs a unique all-telesales model that enables them to provide customized services while offering practitioners the best product brands available on the market. Convergent Dental’s latest partnership with one of the industry’s major distributors solidifies Solea’s reputation as the new leader in hard and soft tissue laser technology.

“As word of Solea’s virtually anesthesia-free and blood-free capabilities spread throughout the dental community, we were excited to see a well-respected dental distributor like Darby Dental Supply reach out to partner with us,” said Convergent Dental CEO Michael Cataldo. “Similar to ourselves, the organization is committed to customer service and innovation. Partners like Darby Dental Supply help Solea gain exposure to new potential customers and help us change what it means to go to the dentist for millions of patients.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported in March 2014 that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is currently one in 68.1 This number represents one out of 42 boys and one out of 189 girls.1 These numbers continue to increase with each passing year. According to Autism Speaks, more children are affected by ASD than by diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, or Down syndrome combined. As dental professionals, it would be prudent that we learn more about ASD and how to adapt our skills to better serve this population.

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