Strokes: Dental x-rays reveal more than cavities
Dental visits usually result in patient recommendations to floss or reschedule more appointments to treat a cavity, however, some patients are learning they may be at risk for a stroke too, according to a case report in the November/December issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistrys (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.
According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), every 45 seconds, someone in America has a stroke. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States today and the leading cause of serious disability. But a trip to the dentist may help determine risk for a stroke.
Radiographs (x-rays) help a dentist observe the condition of a patients teeth, roots, jaw placement and overall placement of facial bones. X-rays can pinpoint the location of cavities and other signs of disease impossible to detect through a visual examination. A panoramic x-ray allows a dentist to see the entire structure of the mouth in a single image. Because of their proximity to the mouth, carotid arteries (located on each side of the neck) often appear in these x-rays. Communicating any stroke risk factors patients have can help a dentist determine if their patient is at risk.
In his case report, Dov M. Almog, DMD, incidentally detected in his patients panoramic x-ray calcifications in one of the carotid arteries. He referred the patient to his primary care physician for further testing and observation, revealing 80 percent stenosis (blockage).
"Panoramic x-rays are extremely useful for observing a patients oral health," says Dr. Almog. "But they are also a beneficial adjunct screening tool for identifying patients at risk for stroke."
Patients already at risk should share their medical history with their dentist and ask the dentist to be aware of any signs of calcifications that may show up during their regular dental check-ups.
"Dentists are concerned not only with a patients oral health, but also their overall well-being," says Eric Curtis, DDS, and AGD spokesperson. "If a dentist is aware of the medical history of the patient, he/she can pay close attention to the radiographs and refer patients for follow-up medical care when appropriate."
If blockage were detected on the radiograph, a patient would likely be referred for a Carotid Duplex Ultrasound. This test uses high-frequency sound waves to view the blood vessels in the neck. The blockage could be treated in a variety of ways including: lifestyle modification, medications such as blood thinners, surgery or other interventional procedures such as a catheter.
Treatable risk factors for stroke
- High blood pressure
- Tobacco use
- Diabetes mellitus
- Carotid or other artery disease
- Heart disease or disorders
- Transient ischemic attacks (warning strokes)
- Blood disorders
- High blood cholesterol
- Excessive alcohol use
- Illegal drug use
Jennifer Starkey | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...