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2008 American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Annual Session Highlights Emerging Scientific Advancements

Pediatric Dentists Discuss the Potential of Saliva Diagnostics and Dental

Pulp Stem Cells in Advancing Pediatric Dental Care

WASHINGTON, May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the recognized leader in pediatric oral health, is holding its 61st Annual Session this week in Washington, D.C. during which leading oral health experts from across the globe will discuss the latest advancements and research in pediatric oral health.

Two areas in which the pediatric dentistry community sees great potential in caring for children's teeth and addressing related systemic health issues include utilizing saliva to diagnose health and disease states and using dental stem cells for dental and facial repair and regeneration.

"These advances in dentistry are able to help us continue to address the systemic health issues that can result from dental care problems," said Dr. Keith Morley, president of the AAPD. "These capabilities may help pediatric dentists further reduce the burden of tooth decay -- a major epidemic in children."

Saliva Diagnostics

While saliva for clinical utilization is still a few years away, studies have shown that almost anything that can be measured in blood can be measured in saliva. According to researcher and meeting presenter David T. W. Wong, D.M.D., D.M.Sc., School of Dentistry and Dental Research Institute, the University of California, Los Angeles, saliva diagnostics may create the possibility of developing new ways of detecting and diagnosing health and disease states.

Additionally, testing saliva is minimally invasive and provides the ability to obtain quick and reliable results, even in remote settings. This ease of testing presents a great opportunity for pediatric dentists to both detect issues and start treatment earlier in more children. For example, dentists could more easily identify a child's susceptibility to caries (cavities) and begin fluoride treatments sooner and more often to prevent the leading childhood chronic disease, tooth decay.

Dental Stem Cells

Stem cell technology is showing great potential in medicine and is an emerging field of study in pediatric dentistry. Stem cells found in primary (baby) teeth offer promise in craniofacial repair and regeneration and repair of dental pulp tissue.

According to researcher and meeting presenter Dr. Jacques Nor, D.D.S., Ph.D., M.S., Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics, University of Michigan, laboratory research has demonstrated that stem cells from primary teeth can be used to regenerate dental pulps of permanent teeth in mice. This could be critical to long-term oral health since it may allow us to restore the viability of immature permanent teeth that have become necrotic (dead) due to caries or trauma. Combined with tissue engineering techniques, it is possible that dental stem cells may be used to engineer a complete tooth one day.

Additionally, while most research into dental stem cells has focused on growing other dental tissues, researchers see potential for growing more tissue types for therapeutic use in the future.

For additional information and to speak with Dr. Wong, Dr. Nor or Dr. Morley, please contact Tara Weintraub at 312-240-2861 or

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) is a not-for-profit membership association representing the specialty of pediatric dentistry. The AAPD's 7,300 members are primary oral health care providers who offer comprehensive specialty treatment for millions of infants, children, adolescents, and individuals with special health care needs. The AAPD also represents general dentists who treat a significant number of children in their practices. As advocates for children's oral health, the AAPD develops and promotes evidence-based policies and guidelines, fosters research, contributes to scholarly work concerning pediatric oral health, and educates health care providers, policymakers, and the public on ways to improve children's oral health. For further information, please visit the AAPD Web site at

Contacts: Marianthi Bumbaris

(312) 337-2169, ext. 27

Tara Weintraub

(312) 240-2861

SOURCE American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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