What are Dental Crowns Used for?

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped shells that can be used to cover damaged teeth or to help replace missing teeth. Crowns are one of the most frequently used cosmetic dental devices because they are easy to apply and they have many uses.
Dental crowns can help to fix a number of dental problems. Crowns are used to strengthen teeth that have been weakened by extensive drilling to remove a cavity, used to strengthen teeth that are cracked or chipped, used to cover teeth that have had enamel removed to accommodate a bridge, and even used to cover irregularly shaped teeth.
Dr Noushin Adhami, our experienced dentist at Vistasol Dental in Montebello often prefer to use dental crowns to restore damaged teeth because this procedure is less invasive. Instead of removing the damaged tooth to accommodate implant or bridges, she can preserve the remaining tooth structure with the application of a crown. This process is more efficient and less likely to cause infection or other undesirable side effects compared to other methods.
Crowns are also used to replace missing teeth. When a dentist places implants, crowns will finalize the restoration once the bone heals around the implant. The crown completely restores the missing tooth.
Crowns can be made from a variety of materials. Most patients prefer tooth-colored crowns that are indistinguishable from the natural teeth. Crowns that are made from ceramic or porcelain are strong and appear completely natural. They can even be color matched and shaped similar to the adjacent teeth. However, tooth-colored crowns are not quite as durable as metal crowns, which can be a disadvantage. Crowns placed on a molar should be able to withstand a large amount of biting force. Metal crowns, made from stainless steel or gold, are most ideal for placement in back teeth. These crowns are not as aesthetically pleasing as tooth colored crowns; however they are very durable and are unlikely to become damaged.
If you have a badly damaged, missing, or unsightly tooth, contact our dental clinic in Montebello to schedule a consultation about the possibility of getting a dental crown. Dr Noushin Adhami will be glad to examine the questionable tooth and recommend the best course of treatment.

What teeth reveal about the lives of modern humans

When anthropologists of the future find our fossilized teeth, what will they be able to conclude about our lives?
Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg has an idea. She is a professor of anthropology at The Ohio State University who studies fossilized teeth to answer questions about the life history, growth, and diet of primates and our human ancestors, as well as the relationships between different species.
In a new book, What Teeth Reveal About Human Evolution (Cambridge University Press, 2016), she gives a broad overview of what scientists have learned about our ancestors from studying fossilized teeth.
As for the teeth of humans living today — well, it is a good thing we have modern dentistry.
“We have teeth that were adapted for eating a very different diet than the one we eat today, at least in Western societies,” Guatelli-Steinberg said.
In the book, she noted that 99 percent of humans’ evolutionary history was spent eating foods that were hunted or gathered. Our current diets of soft, processed and sugary foods are nothing like the diets for which our teeth are adapted.
“Problems like cavities and plaque buildup have been magnified tremendously in humans today,” she said. “Natural selection has not prepared us well for the kinds of food we eat today.”
In addition to having much higher rates of cavities and plaque, modern humans are much more likely to have misaligned teeth that require orthodontic treatment or surgery.
“Soft diets do not stimulate jaw growth, and teeth, especially our third molars (wisdom teeth), become impacted,” she said.
In fact, third molar impaction became 10 times more common after the Industrial Revolution than it was previously.
Researchers like Guatelli-Steinberg learn a lot about early humans and our ancestors through an examination of teeth.
One reason that teeth provide so much information is simply that they are available. Teeth are the most preserved skeletal remains found in fossils. They are small and very mineralized, making them resistant to decomposition and able to maintain their original qualities, she said. Teeth also contain a record of a lot of aspects of their own development, including their chemistry and pathology.
“Teeth give us insights into a variety of aspects of evolution,” she said.
For example, researchers study the structure of teeth — like bumps and grooves — to see how species are related to one another.
Also, since the scale of dental development is related to overall development in most animals, researchers can use teeth to determine how long it took individuals of different species to grow to adulthood.
On the other end of life, researchers can study the amount of wear on fossilized teeth to get a very rough estimate of how old an adult was when he or she died.
And, of course, there is much to learn about diets.
Microscopic wear on the chewing surfaces of teeth can suggest what kind of food an individual ate.
“Different kinds of food can require different ways of bringing the teeth together. As that happens, the food will mark the teeth in different ways, depending on their properties,” she said.
The chemical composition of the teeth themselves is revealing. Scientists can identify the stable isotopes and trace elements in fossilized teeth to determine an individual’s diet.
Much of Guatelli-Steinberg’s own research has focused on using patterns of tooth growth to assess what life was like for the individuals under study.
“Tooth growth is disrupted in periods of severe physical stress, such as illness or starvation, so teeth can be a window to challenges that our ancestors faced,” she said.
In a 2004 study, Guatelli-Steinberg and colleagues used a scanning electron microscope to compare fossilized teeth of Neanderthals with those of modern Inuits, or Eskimos. The researchers were looking for tiny defects — horizontal lines and grooves in tooth enamel — that suggest the individuals were experiencing stress.
The results showed that Neanderthals did not have lives that were dramatically more difficult than those of the modern Eskimos — a finding that challenged traditional thinking at the time.
More recently, Guatelli-Steinberg has used a relatively new method of studying fossilized teeth to examine growth increments. The technique pioneered by anthropologist Tanya Smith, called X-ray synchrotron microtomography, uses a specialized imaging machine to see inside teeth without having to cut them up.
This allows researchers to create virtual sections of fossil teeth to see periods of growth, or when growth was interrupted, in increments as short as just a few days, she said.
Regardless of what new techniques are developed to study teeth, Guatelli-Steinberg said she expects future anthropologists will “likely have a field day” studying modern human teeth.
“In various cultures today, we have people who notch teeth, inlay them with jewels or gold, lengthen them, file them down and remove them altogether,” she said.
“One can only imagine what anthropologists will make of all the things we do to our teeth today.”

Oral Hygiene and Your Overall Health

Poor oral health has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. But by changing certain habits, you can improve the health of your mouth and teeth and lessen your risk.
How well you care for your teeth and gums has a powerful effect on your overall health. Neglecting your oral health lead to more than just sore teeth and bad breath — it can open the door to all sorts of health problems, including diseases like oral cancer. Researchers have found possible connections between gum problems and heart disease, bacterial pneumonia, stroke, and even problem pregnancies.
“You cannot be healthy with an unhealthy mouth any more than one can be healthy with an infected foot,” says Dr. Noushin Adhami D.D.S General & Cosmetic dentist at Vistasol Dental Clinic.
Sugar consumption.
Having a sugar-laden diet will contribute to tooth decay and gum problems, as the bacteria in the mouth thrive in this environment. producing tooth and gum-destroying enzymes and acids.
Dental care experts have long known that smoking cigarettes and cigars and using tobacco products can cause periodontal disease (gum disease), tooth decay, and oral cancer. Cigars can also cause periodontal disease and throat, or pharyngeal, cancer.
The smoke from tobacco has a toxic effect on gum tissue, and can interfere with blood flow. Smoking also stains the heck out of teeth, is a direct cause of oral cancer, and can contribute to bad breath.
Drinking alcohol.
Drinking can contribute to oral problems indirectly by resulting in a dehydrated mouth, which can allow bacteria to run rampant. In addition, people who have alcohol addiction issues are probably less likely to consistently follow good dental care habits.
Changes in weight.
For those who wear dentures, changes in body weight tend to affect the way dentures fit. Just as weight gain or loss affects the way clothes fit, that gain or loss also affects the gum pads on which dentures rest. To help maintain a healthy weight and fight tooth decay, the ADA ( American Dental Association) advises people to eat a diet rich in high-fiber fruits and vegetables.
Some medications, for example, some antibiotics, can cause internal staining of teeth, such as tetracycline staining, depending on the age at which you take them. Also, there are 200 to 400 medications, prescribed or over-the-counter, that have the side effect of drying up saliva. A dry mouth is more prone to gum disease and tooth decay, as well as bad breath.
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body
To maintain your oral health and overall good health you should see your dentist regularly to head off any problems early. You should also practice good oral hygiene at home by carefully brushing and flossing your teeth regularly in order to prevent plaque from accumulating and causing problems. There is nothing a dentist can do that a patient can’t undo by neglecting their dental care.

What is the Purpose of Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding is a useful and versatile cosmetic dental procedure that is highly effective for treating a number of cosmetic dental problems. Bonding involves the use of a special resin that is applied to teeth and hardened with a special light to affix it permanently to the teeth.

Dental bonding is typically used to treat specific cosmetic dental issues. These issues include:

Repair cracked or chipped teeth
Fill cavities
Cover discolored or badly stained teeth
Improve spacing between teeth
Reshape irregularly-shaped or unusually small teeth
Lengthen teeth
Cover tooth roots exposed by periodontal disease

Dr. Noushin Adhami at Vistasol Dental recommends dental bonding when the patient suffers from more than one cosmetic dental problem because this procedure is an efficient and cost effective method for fixing a number of cosmetic dental issues at once. In addition, the process of applying dental bonding is not invasive and it does not involve the use of dental surgery.

To place dental bond, our dentist will first select the proper shade of resin. Resin can be custom matched to the patient’s teeth, or a brighter shade of resin can be chosen if the patient is applying dental bonds to improve the appearance of stained teeth. Teeth will then be prepared in order to accommodate for dental bonding. Special tools will be used by our Montebello dentist in order to slightly roughen the tooth enamel, forming an ideal surface for the bond to adhere to. The material will then be applied directly onto the teeth, shaped and polished to the desired shape. Finally, dental bonding material will be cured with an ultraviolet light or with a laser.

Dental bond has several advantages over other methods of treating cosmetic dental problems. Dental bonding can usually be completed in just one office visit. This contrasts with dental veneers or crowns, which require two or more visits as well as a waiting period while the dental laboratory creates the custom set of veneers or crowns.

This method of fixing cosmetic dental problems is not quite as durable as crowns or veneers, however. The dental bond can chip or break more easily and it is also more prone to stains than porcelain or ceramic.

If you are interested in learning more about dental bonding, contact our cosmetic dentist in Montebello at vistasol dental. Dr. Noushin Adhami, doctor of dental surgery will examine your teeth and recommends a method of treating your cosmetic dental problem that is appropriate for your unique needs.

What You Need to Know about Tooth Abscess

Tooth abscess, a collection of pus inside of the oral tissues, can result from severe infections like those associated with untreated gum disease. When abscess occurs, patients commonly experience intense pain and are at risk of having the infection spread to other parts of the body. Here is more about the causes and treatments of tooth abscess.
Why Tooth Abscess Occurs

Abscess is the result of a trapped bacterial infection inside the tissues of the mouth. In some cases, untreated tooth decay can cause a bacterial infection that produces an abscess. An abscess can also develop after a tooth is affected by cracks or breakage, which allows entry of bacteria into the tooth pulp. Finally, infections may result from accumulation of food particles between the gums and teeth, particularly when gum disease creates larger pockets in which bacteria thrive.
How Tooth Abscess Is Treated

Tooth abscess is treated in a number of ways depending on severity and symptoms. Initially, at Vistasol Dental, Dr. Noushin Adhami a montebello dentist addresses the abscess itself before working on the infection behind it. If pulp infection is involved, root canal treatment or root canal surgery may be required. In many cases, more than one appointment is necessary to eliminate the infection and protect against future problems.

Patients can reduce their risks of suffering a tooth abscess by brushing and flossing their teeth every day and visiting our dentist for check-ups at least twice each year. To learn more about tooth abscess prevention and treatment, patients can schedule a consultation with our dentist at Vistasol Dental in Montebello.

Link between Gum disease and Heart disease

Healthy Teeth, Healthy Heart?

Dr. Noushin Adhami says that your oral health could clue you in to the condition of your heart — so listen up! Here’s what you should know about the links between your teeth, gums, and ticker.
You brush, floss, and follow all our dentist’s commandments for healthy teeth and gums (kudos!). But did you know that those mouth-healthy habits may ultimately keep your heart healthy, too?

Research has found a surprising number of links between the state of your mouth and your heart. In fact, we now know that people who develop gum disease (either gingivitis, a milder form that results in inflammation and infection of the gums, or periodontitis, which develops when the inflammation and infection spread below the gum line) are nearly twice at risk for heart disease.
And in one study of 320 adults — half with heart disease — researchers found that these participants were also more likely to have gum disease, bleeding gums, and tooth loss.
What’s the connection? Researchers are still figuring that out.

Can Gum Disease Give You a Heart Attack?

There is a very logical reason why the two may be connected. Experts are starting to understand that the underlying mechanism of cardiovascular disease is related to inflammation, he says.
Some types of bacteria normally occur in your mouth, but if you’re not properly flossing and brushing to remove plaque (that white film caused by bacteria that stick to your teeth after you eat), your risk for gum disease increases. And once gum disease has developed, you create an environment for bacteria that do not normally grow in your mouth.
Because gum disease causes your gums to bleed, bacteria can move into your bloodstream, setting up an inflammatory process in the blood vessels.

How is this related to your heart? The bacteria may increase your risk for heart disease by contributing to the formation of clots or further plaque build-up in your arteries that can interfere with blood flow to the heart.
However, it will take long-term clinical trials to more directly identify gum disease as a cause of heart disease.

Meanwhile, researchers are also uncovering possible links between gum disease and stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, respiratory disease, and even preterm babies.

Important Steps for Your Teeth (and Heart)
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, half of all people over age 55 have gum disease. Gum disease is also the main reason people 35 and older lose their teeth.
Your risk for gum disease increases as you get older, but staying on top of your dental health should start in childhood. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can help you keep gum disease at bay.
If you happen to notice any of these symptoms, let your dentist know immediately — they could be warning signs of gum disease.
* Sour taste in the mouth
* Persistent bad breath
* Bleeding gums
* Swollen, tender gums
* Loose teeth
* Sensitive teeth
* Pain when chewing
And remember: Preventing gum disease — or treating it with deep cleanings, medication, or surgery — may just help you prevent heart problems down the road.
Call us today to make an appointment for your dental check up and x-rays

Root Canal Therapy is truly Painless at Vistasol Dental in Montebello

A root canal #rootcanal
is the anatomic space within the root of a #tooth. Part of a naturally occurring space within a tooth, it consists of the pulp chamber (within the coronal part of the tooth), the main canal(s), and more intricate anatomical branches that may connect the root canals to each other or to the surface of the root.

Tooth structure
At the center of every tooth is a hollow area that houses soft tissues, such as the nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissue. This hollow area contains a relatively wide space in the coronal portion of the tooth called the pulp chamber. These canals run through the center of the roots, similar to the way pencil lead runs through a pencil. The pulp receives nutrition through the blood vessels, and sensory nerves carry signals back to the brain. A tooth can be relieved from pain if there is irreversible damage to the pulp, via root canal treatment.

Dental pulp
The space inside the root canals is filled with a highly vascularized, loose connective tissue, called dental pulp. The dental pulp is the tissue of which the dentin portion of the tooth is composed. The dental pulp helps complete formation of the secondary teeth (adult teeth) one to two years after eruption into the mouth. The dental pulp also nourishes and hydrates the tooth structure, making the tooth more resilient, less brittle and less prone to fracture from chewing hard foods. Additionally, the dental pulp provides a hot and cold sensory function.
Root canal is also a colloquial term for a dental operation, endodontic therapy, wherein the pulp is cleaned out, the space disinfected and then filled.

Root canal anatomy
Root canal anatomy consists of the pulp chamber and root canals. Both contain the dental pulp. The smaller branches, referred to as accessory canals, are most frequently found near the root end (apex), but may be encountered anywhere along the root length. The total number of root canals per tooth depends on the number of the tooth roots ranging from one to four, five or more in some cases. Sometimes there are more than one root canal per root. Some teeth have a more variable internal anatomy than others. An unusual root canal shape, complex branching (especially the existence of horizontal branches), and multiple root canals are considered as the main causes of root canal treatment failures. (e.g. If a secondary root canal goes unnoticed by the dentist and is not cleaned and sealed, it will remain infected, causing the root canal therapy to fail).

Root canal system
The specific features and complexity of the internal anatomy of the teeth have been thoroughly studied. Using a replica technique on thousands of teeth, Hess made clear as early as 1917 that the internal space of dental roots is often a complex system composed of a central area (root canals with round, oval or irregular cross-sectional shape) and lateral parts (fins, anastomoses and accessory canals). In fact, this lateral component may represent a relatively large volume, which challenges the cleaning phase of the instrumentation procedure in that tissue remnants of the vital or necrotic pulp as well as infectious elements are not easily removed in these areas. Thus, the image of root canals having a smooth, conical shape is generally too idealistic and underestimates the reach of root canal instrumentation.

Anatomic complexity by cone-down CT and ultrasound
Root Canal pulp removed, cleaned and made ready for filling and placing a crown.
Root canals presenting an oval cross-section are found in 50%-70% of root canals. In addition, canals with a “tear-shaped” cross section are common when a single root contains two canals (as occurs, for example, with the additional mesial root seen with the lower molars), subtleties that can be more difficult to appreciate on classical radiographs. Recent studies have shown that use of cone-down CT can detect accessory canals that would have been missed in 23% of cases, which can in turn lead to apical periodontitis. The upper molars, in particular, are predisposed to have an occult accessory canal in nearly half of patients.
When rotary nickel titanium (NiTi) files are used in canals with flat-oval or tear-shaped cross sections, a circular bore is created due to the rotational action of the metal. Also, small cavities within the canal such as the buccal or lingual recesses may not be instrumented within the tooth, potentially leaving residual disease during disinfection.
Tissue or biofilm remnants along such un-instrumented recesses may lead to failure due to both inadequate disinfection and the inability to properly obturate the root-canal space. Consequently, the biofilm should be removed with a disinfectant during root canal treatment.

Dr Noushin Adhami D.D.S

Root Canal Therapy is a painless dental treatment

Dental Crown is the best procedure for restoring your broken tooth

Dental Crown

Although permanent teeth are meant to last a lifetime, it’s easy to let them go. Not brushing is one way to surrender your teeth to tooth decay; skipping regular dental visits is another. Truth is there are several things that can make the health of your teeth go awry — which is why a dental crown is such a common dental treatment. Given how many people have dental crowns of their own, it’s easy to see why you’d want to find out more about teeth crowns.
Tooth crowns are one of the most effective dental solutions for restoring a tooth’s shape, size and strength, or to improve its appearance. Your dentist might recommend teeth crowns to:
– Cover discolored teeth or dental implants
– Protect a tooth from tooth decay
– Restore a broken tooth
– Hold a dental bridge in place

The Dental Crowns Procedure
Preparing teeth for teeth crowns usually involves two visits. Tooth crowns can be prepared and placed in a two visits. During the first visit, We will take an X-ray to examine the extent of decay.

If a root canal isn’t necessary, we will:
– File the chewing surface, sides of the tooth and surrounding teeth.
– Take an impression of the prepared tooth and surrounding teeth.
– Place a temporary crown to cover the prepared tooth while the permanent dental crown is being made.
At your second visit, we will remove the temporary and check the fit and color of the permanent crown, then cement it in place.
Dental crowns are made from a variety of dental materials, including:
– Metal (gold, nickel or chromium)
– Porcelain fused to metal
– All porcelain or all ceramic
– Resin (durable plastic)

Caring for Your Teeth Crowns
Keep in mind that a metal crown requires less tooth structure to be removed, but is less attractive than a porcelain crown. Alternatively, a porcelain crown, though less noticeable, may not last as long as metal or resin crowns.
A new dental crown may make your teeth sensitive to heat and cold. Some dental crown can chip easily and some tooth crowns become loose or fall off. If you experience any problems with your dental crown, call us Today.
Dental crowns don’t keep tooth decay at bay. You still need to brush, floss and have regular dental cleanings. Avoid certain habits such as opening packages with your mouth, grinding your teeth and chewing ice to help prevent tooth crowns from wearing out prematurely. Well-cared for dental crowns can last 5 to 20years.
Reading about dental crowns is a good start; following up with a conversation about tooth crowns with dentist is even better.
Call us today to make your appointment with Dr. Noushin Adhami dentist in Montebello and she will determine if dental crowns are suitable for your dental health.

Dr. Noushin Adhami D.D.S

E-cigarettes just as harmful as tobacco for oral health

Electronic cigarettes are often marketed as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes. When it comes to oral health, however, new research suggests vaping may be just as harmful as smoking.

Researchers suggest vaping may be equally – if not more – harmful for oral health than smoking.
In a study published in the journal Oncotarget, researchers found that the chemicals present in electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) vapor were equally as damaging – in some cases, more damaging – to mouth cells as tobacco smoke.
Such damage can lead to an array of oral health problems, including gum disease, tooth loss, and mouth cancer.
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices containing a heating device and a cartridge that holds a liquid solution. The heating device vaporizes the liquid – usually when the user “puffs” on the device – and the resulting vapor is inhaled.
While e-cigarette liquids do not contain tobacco – a highly harmful component of conventional cigarettes – they do contain nicotine and other chemicals, including flavoring agents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of e-cigarettes has increased in recent years, particularly among young people. In 2015, 16 percent of high-school students reported using the devices, compared with just 1.5 percent in 2011.
E-cigarettes are considered by many to be safer than conventional smoking, but because the devices are relatively new to the market, little is known about the long-term effects of vaping on health.
In particular, study leader Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., professor of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York, and colleagues note that there has been limited data on how e-cigarette vapor affects oral health.

Flavored vapor worsens damage to gum tissue cells
To address this gap in research, the team exposed the gum tissue of nonsmokers to either tobacco- or menthol-flavored e-cigarette vapor.
The tobacco-flavored vapor contained 16 milligrams of nicotine, while the menthol flavor contained 13-16 milligrams of nicotine or no nicotine.
The researchers found that all e-cigarette vapor caused damage to gum tissue cells comparable to that caused by exposure to tobacco smoke.
“We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases.”
Irfan Rahman, Ph.D.
The researchers note that nicotine is a known contributor to gum disease, but e-cigarette flavoring appeared to exacerbate the cell damage caused by e-cigarette vapor, with menthol-flavored vapor posing the most harm.
While further research is needed to investigate the long-term effects of e-cigarette use, Rahman and team believe their findings indicate that the devices may have negative implications for oral health.
“Overall, our data suggest the pathogenic role of [e-cigarette] aerosol to cells and tissues of the oral cavity, leading to compromised periodontal health,” they conclude.
E-cigarette vapor damaged, killed 53 percent of mouth cells in 3 days
Another study recently published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology builds on the findings from Rahman and colleagues, after finding a high rate of mouth cell death with exposure to e-cigarette vapor over just a few days.
To reach their findings, Dr. Mahmoud Rouabhia, of the Faculty of Dental Medicine at Université Laval in Canada, and colleagues placed epithelial cells from the mouth in a chamber that contained a liquid similar to saliva.
To simulate vaping, the researchers pumped e-cigarette vapor into the chamber at a rate of two 5-second puffs every 60 seconds for 15 minutes a day. This was performed over 1, 2, or 3 days.
On analyzing the vapor-exposed epithelial cells under a microscope, the researchers identified a significant increase in the rate of cell damage and death.
The rate of damage or death in unexposed cells is around 2 percent, the researchers note. However, they found that with exposure to e-cigarette vapor, the number of dead or dying cells rose to 18 percent, 40 percent, and 53 percent over 1, 2, and 3 days, respectively.
While the cumulative effects of the cell damage caused by e-cigarette are unclear, the researchers believe their findings are a cause for concerna-woman-using-an-ecigarette

Heart disease risk higher with latent tooth infection

If you missed your last dental checkup, a new study might encourage you to book that appointment right away; researchers have identified a higher risk of heart disease for individuals who have hidden tooth infections.

Researchers suggest people with apical periodontitis are at greater risk of heart disease.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, responsible for around 610,000 deaths every year.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common form of heart disease, caused by a buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart.
Common risk factors for heart disease include obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. However, researchers are increasingly suggesting poor dental health should be added to the list.

Last year, for example, a study published in Infection and Immunity suggested that the bacterium involved in gum disease may also raise the risk of heart disease.
Now, researchers from the University of Helsinki in Finland have uncovered a link between dental root tip infection, known as apical periodontitis, and greater risk for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) – an umbrella term for conditions that involve blocked blood flow to the coronary arteries.
Study co-author John Liljestrand, of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases at the University of Helsinki, and colleagues publish their findings in the Journal of Dental Research.
Apical periodontitis is a condition characterized by inflammatory lesions of the pulp in the center of the tooth, most commonly triggered by infection. Dental caries, or tooth decay, are the most common cause of apical periodontitis.
While the condition can cause pain, this may not present until later on in the infection, meaning some people who have apical periodontitis are unaware they have it; most cases are uncovered unexpectedly through X-rays.

Apical periodontitis ‘independently associated’ with CAD, ACS

The research involved 508 individuals of a mean age of 62 years who were part of The Finnish Parogene study and who were experiencing some heart problems.
All patients underwent angiography – an X-ray of the blood vessels. This revealed that 36 percent of the patients had stable CAD, 33 percent had ACS, and 31 percent had no significant CAD.
Using panoramic tomography, the researchers assessed the patients’ teeth and jaws. They found that up to 58 percent of the patients had at least one inflammatory lesion, a sign of apical periodontitis.
The results revealed that patients with apical periodontitis were more likely to have CAD or ACS; this association was strongest for patients whose apical periodontitis was untreated and required a root canal, with a 2.7-times greater risk of ACS.
These results remained after accounting for a number of possible confounding factors, including patients’ age, sex, smoking, type 2 diabetes, body mass index (BMI), and number of teeth.
Based on their findings, the researchers believe apical periodontitis can be considered a risk factor for heart disease:
“Our findings support the hypothesis that ELs (endodontic lesions) are independently associated with CAD and in particular with ACS. This is of high interest from a public health perspective, considering the high prevalence of ELs and CAD.”
Additionally, the team found that patients with apical periodontitis had higher levels of antibodies in their blood that are associated with other common bacteria, further suggesting that oral infections can affect other areas of the body.
In order to protect heart health, the team suggests individuals should adopt strategies to prevent or treat oral infections, which are often asymptomatic.

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Dental dentist dentistry