General dentists from across the United States and Canada exchanged vital information today showing that dental X-rays, known as panoramic radiographs, used for oral health examinations, are effective in detecting some cases of clinically significant carotid artery stenosis, or blockages in the carotid artery, which can potentially lead to stroke. The findings were presented by Laurie Carter, DDS, PhD, professor and director of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology and director of Graduate Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry at the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) 53rd Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Periapical or bitewing radiographs are commonly used by dentists to observe the entire structure of the mouth, including a patient's teeth, roots, jaw and facial placement. These X-rays also can help determine the presence or degree of periodontal disease, bone infections and many abnormal growths, such as cysts and tumors. A panoramic X-ray reveals in greater detail the upper and lower teeth and parts of the jaw in a single image. More importantly, a patient's carotid arteries, located on each side of the neck, pass through the region visualized on the panoramic X-ray, making it possible for a dentist to view these significant blockages, which appear as patchy white spots.
"These findings demonstrate the increasingly important role that a general dentist can play in the management of a person's overall health," said Dr. Carter. "They also show the importance of routine visits to your general dentist to promote early detection of potentially life-threatening events like heart attack and stroke."
Dr. Carter's presentation further supports the findings of Dr. Dov M. Almog, DMD, an associate professor, Department of Prosthodontics, and medical director, Craniofacial Diagnostic Imaging at Eastman Dental Center at the University of Rochester in New York, which were published in the November-December 2004 issue of GPage: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Jennifer Starkey
Academy of General Dentistry
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