Hadza oral health research

Team Members: Peter S. Ungar, Alyssa Crittenden, John Sorrentino, Jerry Rose

Funding Source: US National Science Foundation

Our group recently examined oral health in the Hadza peoples of Tanzania, the last remaining hunter-gatherers in Africa. Our research has focusing on changes in caries rate, periodontal disease, orthodontic disorders and developmental defects associated with the transition from foraging for wild foods to an agriculture-based village subsistence.

Objective outcome measures for the clinical assessment of erosive tooth wear

Team Members: Anderson Hara, Dylan Elkington-Strauss, Peter S. Ungar

Funding Source: US National Institutes of Health

Erosive tooth wear (ETW) is a multifactorial and cumulative condition of growing prevalence that leads to substantial loss of dental structure, resulting in pain and harm to dental function and esthetics. Currently, the clinical assessment and monitoring of ETW is done by visual examination using subjective indices. The long-term goal of this study is to develop a non-invasive and nondestructive clinical assessment for the detection, differentiation and monitoring of ETW progression. This assessment will be based on the clinical measurement of enamel thickness and dental surface texture by polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) and white-light scanning confocal profilometry (WLSCP), respectively. The hypothesis to be investigated is that the combination of surface texture and enamel thickness analyses can provide objective and reliable information for the diagnosis and monitoring of ETW.  Evaluations are being performed at baseline and after 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. This research will provide the basis for the development of an objective clinical assessment protocol to diagnose and monitor ETW development, identifying its relation to biological and behavioral factors.

Clinical applications to dental topographic analysis

Team Members: Anderson Hara, Carlos Gonzales, Peter S. Ungar, Grace Roberts, James Needy, Sarah Buedel

These projects involve study of dental topography of premolar teeth of dental patients.  We are exploring several applications involving use of intraoral scanners in clinical settings to document patterns of gross tooth wear and assess possible associations between occlusal fissure topography and caries incidence.   We are also using in vitro experimental approaches to assess changes in functional occlusal topography with dental attrition.

Surface analysis of brushed enamel surfaces

Team Members: Anderson Hara, Cecilia Turssi, Gracie Engelkes, Peter S. Ungar

This project investigates the ability of SSFA and ISO parameters to assess the microscale effect on dentin/enamel of  toothbrush stiffness and abrasivity of toothpastes as an alternative to the current radiotracer method.