reatment for periodontal
disease is safe for pregnant
women, but such treatment
does not reduce the risk of adverse outcomes, including
preterm delivery, low birth
weight, fetal growth restriction
or pre-eclampsia.
Those findings are from a
new study, “Treatment of
Periodontal Disease and the
Risk of Preterm Birth,” published in the Nov. 2 issue of The
New England Journal of
Researchers based their findings on results from a four-site
Obstetrics and Periodontal
Therapy (OPT) Trial that studied the effects of nonsurgical periodontal treatment on preterm
The National Institute of
Dental and Craniofacial
Research (NIDCR), which funded the OPT study, described it
as the largest clinical trial to
evaluate whether treating periodontal disease during pregnancy reduces a woman’s risk of
early delivery.
The study enrolled 823
women from Hennepin County
Medical Center in Minneapolis,
the University of Kentucky in
Lexington, the University of
Mississippi/Jackson Medical
Mall in Jackson and Harlem
Hospital/Columbia University
in New York City.
The study defines “preterm
delivery” as a birth that occurs
before 37 weeks of gestation.
The women studied were between 13 and 17 weeks pregnant on entering the study, and
all suffered from periodontal disease. Researchers separated the
women into two groups: those
JADA, Vol. 137
who received root planing and
scaling during pregnancy (before
the 21st week) and a control
group that received periodontal
treatment after delivery.
The OPT data showed that
49 (12 percent) of 407 women in
the treatment group delivered
earlier than 37 weeks, compared with 52 (12.8 percent) of
405 women in the control group.
“This research does not show
a direct cause and effect relationship between periodontal
disease and preterm birth,” said
Dr. Bryan Michalowicz, the
study’s lead author and an associate professor, Division of
Periodontology, University of
Minnesota School of Dentistry,
“A common, nonsurgical
treatment for periodontitis delivered between weeks 13 and
21 of pregnancy did not reduce
the rate of preterm birth or low
birth weight,” added Dr.
Michalowicz. “This could suggest that in the future, researchers [should] focus on testing other means to reduce rates
of preterm birth.”
For dentists hesitant about
treating pregnant patients, the
study shows that treatment provided in the second or third
trimester of pregnancy is safe.
Women in the treatment group
also received a monthly
“Dental care during pregnancy has long been an issue dominated by caution more than
data,” said Dr. Lawrence Tabak,
NIDCR director, in the NIDCR
press release. “The finding that
periodontal treatment during
pregnancy did not increase adverse events is important news
for women, especially for those
who will need to have their periodontal disease treated during
pregnancy,” said Dr. Tabak,
who also holds a PhD degree.
“As a dentist,” said Dr.
Michalowicz, “I am excited that
our findings might be used to increase women’s access to periodontal treatment, and that we
confirmed the safety of periodontal care which should help eliminate any negative perceptions
about treating pregnant women.
By demonstrating that treatment is safe and efficacious, we
hope these results go a long way
in debunking those myths.”
While the OPT study does
not support a causal relationship between periodontal disease and preterm birth, an accompanying editorial in the
New England Journal of
Medicine by Robert L. Goldberg,
MD, and Jennifer F. Culhane,
PhD, maintains that future
studies may show that periodontal treatment can help reduce other adverse outcomes including “late miscarriage, early
stillbirth, and spontaneous
preterm birth before 32 weeks,
rather than all preterm births
before 37 weeks.”
“For those who believed there
was no connection between periodontal disease and preterm
birth, they’ll look at this and
say ‘I told you so,’ ” said Dr. M.
John Novak, a periodontist and
one of two researchers who participated in the study from the
University of Kentucky. “But for
those who do believe that periodontal disease and negative
obstetrical outcomes are somehow linked, this study does not
provide the answer on how they
are linked.”
Dr. Novak, who also holds a
PhD degree, added, “There are
potentially a lot of environmental and behavioral factors to
consider, such as the impact of
socioeconomic status, lifestyles
and smoking, all of which are
http://jada.ada.org December 2006
Copyright ©2006 American Dental Association. All rights reserved.
known risk factors for both periodontitis and preterm birth.”
Dr. Daniel M. Meyer, associate executive director, ADA
Division of Science, said that genetic conditions and environmental issues must be weighed
when considering systemic
health outcomes.
“[The OPT trial] is a welldesigned study that provides
valuable insight into the complexity of these relationships,”
Dr. Meyer said. “A single study
often raises more questions
rather than merely provides
precise answers to some of our
clinical questions.
“Oral-systemic relationships
obviously exist,” he said. “We
will need to continue to explore
the extent of these associations
in order to gain a far better understanding of the relative
risks, along with the most effective methods to improve
Dr. Meyer added, “The interactions of predisposing health
conditions, whether oral or systemic, add to the complexities of
determining the measurable
health outcomes from a variety
of current treatment options.
We need to continue to evaluate
these relationships and in the
meantime, not overinterpret or
misinterpret the significance of
this study.”
Another ongoing NIDCRsupported study, “Maternal Oral
Therapy to Reduce Obstetric
Risk,” includes 1,800 women
from a broader range of socioeconomic classes, as well as women
with less severe periodontal disease. Results from that study
are expected within the next two
years, NIDCR reports.
For more information on the
OPT study, visit “www.
he American Academy of
Periodontology (AAP) said
a new study showing periodontal treatment during pregnancy is safe is an “important message for the dental and
medical communities and all
In a media release, the AAP
emphasized “the need for additional research to clarify the
potential effect of periodontal
disease on adverse pregnancy
outcomes” because the rate of
preterm births continues to
The AAP press release
comes on the heels of the New
England Journal of Medicine’s
Nov. 2 article, “Treatment of
Periodontal Disease and the
Risk of Preterm Birth,” which
documents the Obstetrics and
Periodontal Therapy Trial that
studied the effects of nonsurgical periodontal treatment on
preterm birth in more than
800 pregnant women. While
the study showed that treat-
htm”. To read more about ADA
articles regarding the oral-systemic connection, visit “www.
Reported by Jennifer Garvin, senior editor,
ADA News.
biologist at Binghamton
University, Binghamton,
N.Y., reportedly has discovered
a molecule that induces the dispersion of biofilms.
David Davies, PhD, an asso-
ment is safe, it did not show a
link between periodontitis and
The AAP called the study results “intriguing” and said, “The
outcome is at variance with
findings of other studies, which
have suggested that periodontal
treatment positively affects
birth outcomes.
“There may be several explanations for the differences in research findings to date including timing of the treatment
intervention, as well as the
pregnancy outcomes studied,”
the AAP continued. “For example, the research did not study
the effect of periodontal treatment on early adverse outcomes, such as late miscarriage,
stillbirth, and early spontaneous preterm birth, which previous observational studies
have linked with periodontal
“Other trials are under way
that should provide additional
insight on this important topic,”
the AAP release concluded.
For more information about
the AAP, visit “www.perio.org”. ■
—Reported by Jennifer Garvin.
ciate professor of biology, says
he has found and is in the
process of synthesizing a compound that will cause biofilm
colonies to disperse, leaving
bacteria up to 1,000 times more
susceptible to disinfectants, antibiotics and immune functions.
Biofilms are complex aggregations of bacteria marked by
the excretion of a protective and
adhesive matrix. They develop
almost anywhere that water
and solids or solids and gases
meet, which means they are virtually everywhere. When traveling alone in planktonic form,
JADA, Vol. 137 http://jada.ada.org
Copyright ©2006 American Dental Association. All rights reserved.
December 2006
most bacteria are of small consequence and generally easy to
manage. However, when they
form biofilms, bacteria seem to
gain super powers.
The small molecule Dr.
Davies is working with appears
to be one of the few known examples in nature of a communication signal that remains effective across species, family and
“I consider this the Holy
Grail of research in biofilms,”
he said. “It’s a new paradigm in
the way we look at how bacteria
regulate their behavior.”
The dispersion autoinducer
Dr. Davies is investigating has
been effective in dispersing
biofilms containing Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Streptococcus mutans, Escherichia coli
and Staphylococcus aureus, regardless of whether the bacteria
exist in a pure or mixed-culture
The dispersion-inducing molecule provokes genetic and
physiological changes in the
biofilm bacteria, causing them
to disperse and return to a
planktonic state.
“I think people will start inducing dispersion to disaggregate biofilms and, then, treat
them concurrently, and with
significantly greater efficacy,
with antibiotics,” Dr. Davies
He envisions the discovery
first being marketed as a topical treatment for cuts, lacerations and minor burns. But his
major interest is the area of
nonhealing wounds.
“If we can treat those kinds
of wounds and clear up the infection, they will heal,” said
Dr. Davies. “We know that
from wound débridement
studies.” ■
Compiled by Janice Snider, senior editor.
JADA, Vol. 137
dThe American Academy of
Gnathologic Orthopedics will
hold its annual meeting Jan. 1213 in Phoenix. For more information, contact Dr. Jack L.
Hockel by phone at 1-800-5102246, by fax at 1-925-947-5750
or by e-mail at “jackhockel@
dThe Organization for Safety
& Asepsis Procedures will hold
a Federal Services Infection
Control Program Jan. 22-25 in
Atlanta. For more information,
contact Ms. Therese Long by
phone at 1-410-571-0003, by fax
at 1-410-571-0028 or by e-mail
at “[email protected]”.
dThe American Association of
Orthodontists will hold its
Winter Scientific Session,
“Multiple Disciplines, One
Focus,” Feb. 9-11 in Indian
Wells, Calif. For more information, contact ITS by phone at
1-800-424-5249 (U.S. and
Canada) or at 1-847-940-2155
(international) or by e-mail at
“[email protected]”.
dThe Colegio de Cirujanos
Dentistas de Puerto Rico will
hold its Scientific Congress Feb.
21-24 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
For more information, contact
Ms. Myrna Cruz-Garay by
phone at 1-787-763-6335, by fax
at 1-787-764-1969 or by e-mail
at “[email protected]”.
dThe Academy of
Osseointegration will hold its
annual meeting March 8-10 in
San Antonio, Texas. For more
information, contact Mr. Kevin
Smith by phone at 1-847-7093030, by fax at 1-847-709-3029
or by e-mail at
“[email protected]”.
dThe American Academy of
Cosmetic Dentistry will hold its
23rd Scientific Session May 1519 in Atlanta. For more infor-
mation, contact Mr. Eric Nelson
by phone at 1-800-543-9220, by
fax at 1-608-222-9540 or by
e-mail at “[email protected]”.
dDr. Brian Black, Loma
Linda, Calif., received the
Academician Award from the
World Congress of Minimally
Invasive Dentistry.
dDr. Marcia Boyd,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada, received honorary
ADA membership from the
ADA Board of Trustees.
dDr. Terry Dickinson,
Richmond, Va., was appointed
to the Commission on Health
Reform by Virginia Gov.
Timothy M. Kaine.
dDr. Charles Goodacre,
Loma Linda, Calif., received
Loma Linda University School
of Dentistry’s first Kenneth
Wical Advanced Prosthodontics
Excellence Award.
dDr. Eric Hovland, New
Orleans, received the
Outstanding Dental Leader
Award from the International
College of Dentists.
dDr. Donald E. Johnson,
Atlanta, was elected president
of the International College of
Dentists and Dr. James E.
Felix, Akron, Ohio, was elected
president of the U.S. section of
the ICD.
dDr. Charles McCallum,
Vestavia Hills, Ala., received
the 2006 ADA Distinguished
Service Award from the ADA
Board of Trustees.
dDr. Howard I. Mark, West
Hartford, Conn., received the
American Association of Oral
and Maxillofacial Surgeons’
2006 Community Service
Award for Fellows/Members.
dDr. John M. Stovall, Ft.
Worth, Texas, was named 2006
http://jada.ada.org December 2006
Copyright ©2006 American Dental Association. All rights reserved.
Texas Dentist of the Year by
the Texas Academy of General
dDr. W. Mark Tucker,
Tampa, Fla., was installed as
president of the American
Association of Oral and
Maxillofacial Surgeons.
2007 Sept. 27-Oct. 2, San
2008 Oct. 16-19, San Antonio
2009 Sept. 30-Oct. 3, Honolulu
Meeting dates are subject to
change. Dentists interested in
attending any of the listed
meetings should contact the
sponsoring organization for
more information.
Alabama Dental
Association, 836 Washington
Ave., Montgomery 36104-3839,
1-334-265-1684, June 12-17,
Orange Beach.
Alaska Dental Society,
9170 Jewel Lake Road, Suite
203, Anchorage 99502-5381,
1-907-563-3003, May 2-5,
Arizona Dental
Association, 3193 N.
Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale
85251-6491, 1-480-344-5777,
Western Regional Dental
Convention, March 8-10,
Arkansas State Dental
Association, 7480 Highway
107, Sherwood 72120, 1-501834-7650, March 30-31, Hot
California Dental
Association, 1201 “K” Street
Mall, Sacramento 95814, 1-916443-0505, Spring Scientific
Session, May 3-6, Anaheim;
Fall Scientific Session, Sept.
27-Oct. 2, San Francisco.
Colegio de Cirujanos
Dentistas de Puerto Rico,
200 Domenech Ave., Hato Rey
00918, 1-787-764-1969, Feb. 2124, San Juan.
Colorado Dental
Association, 3690 S. Yosemite,
Suite 100, Denver 80237-1808,
1-303-740-6900, June 15-17,
Connecticut State Dental
Association, 835 W. Queen St.,
Southington 06489, 1-860-3781800, Charter Oak Dental
Meeting, May 10-12,
Delaware State Dental
Society, The Christiana
Executive Campus, 200
Continental Drive, Suite 111,
Newark 19713, 1-302-368-7634,
May 10-11, Dewey Beach.
District of Columbia
Dental Society, 502 C St.,
N.E., Washington 20002-5810,
1-202-547-7613, Nation’s
Capitol Dental Meeting,
April 19-21, Washington.
Florida Dental
Association, 1111 E.
Tennessee St., Suite 102,
Tallahassee 32308-6913, 1-850681-3629, Florida National
Dental Congress, June 14-16,
Georgia Dental
Association, 7000 Peachtree
Dunwoody Road, Suite 200,
Building 17, N.E., Atlanta
30328-1655, 1-404-636-7553,
July 26-29, Destin, Fla.
Hawaii Dental
Association, 1345 S. Beretania
St., Suite 301, Honolulu 968141821, 1-808-593-7956, The
Hawaii Meeting, Jan. 25-26,
Idaho State Dental
Association, 1220 W. Hays St.,
Boise 83702-5315, 1-208-3437543, June 13-16, Boise.
Illinois State Dental
Society, 1010 S. Second St.,
Springfield 62705, 1-217-5251406, Sept. 7-9, Oak Brook.
Indiana Dental
Association, P.O. Box 2467,
Indianapolis 46206-2467,
1-317-634-2610, May 17-19,
Iowa Dental Association,
5530 W. Parkway, Suite 100,
Johnston 50131, 1-515-9865605, May 5-7, Coralville.
Kansas Dental
Association, 5200 S.W.
Huntoon St., Topeka 666042398, 1-785-272-7360, April 1921, Manhattan.
Kentucky Dental
Association, 1920 Nelson
Miller Parkway, Louisville
40223, 1-502-489-9121, The
Kentucky Meeting, May 1013, Louisville.
Louisiana Dental
Association, 7833 Office Park
Blvd., Baton Rouge 70809-7604,
1-225-926-1986, April 12-14,
New Orleans.
Maine Dental Association,
P.O. Box 215, Manchester
04351-0215, 1-207-622-7900,
June 15-16, Rockport.
Maryland State Dental
Association, 6410 Dobbin
Road, Suite F, Columbia 21045,
1-410-964-2880, Chesapeake
Dental Conference, Sept. 7-9,
Massachusetts Dental
Society, Two Willow St., Suite
200, Southborough 01745-1027,
1-508-480-9797, Yankee
Dental Congress, Jan. 24-28,
Michigan Dental
Association, 230 N.
Washington Square, Suite 208,
Lansing 48933-1312, 1-517-3729070, May 2-5, Detroit.
JADA, Vol. 137 http://jada.ada.org
Copyright ©2006 American Dental Association. All rights reserved.
December 2006
Minnesota Dental
Association, 2236 Marshall
Ave., Saint Paul 55104-5758,
1-651-646-7454, Star of the
North Meeting, April 28-30,
Saint Paul.
Mississippi Dental
Association, 2630 Ridgewood
Road, Suite C, Jackson 392164903, 1-601-982-0442, June 713, Destin, Fla.
Missouri Dental
Association, 3340 American
Ave., Jefferson City 65109,
1-573-634-3436, Winter
Session, Jan. 19-20,
Montana Dental
Association, P.O. Box 1154,
Helena 59624-1154, 1-406-4432061, May 2-4, Missoula.
Nebraska Dental
Association, 3120 “O” St.,
Lincoln 68510-1533, 1-402-4761704, April 13-15, Lincoln.
Nevada Dental
Association, 8863 W.
Flamingo Road, Suite 102, Las
Vegas 89147-8718, 1-702-2554211, Midwinter Meeting,
Feb. 8-10, Furnace Creek,
Calif.; Annual Summer
Meeting, July 4-7, Kahuku,
New Hampshire Dental
Society, 23 S. State St.,
Concord 03301, 1-603-225-5961,
May 17-19, Church Landing.
New Jersey Dental
Association, One Dental
Plaza, P.O. Box 6020, North
Brunswick 08902-6020, 1-732821-9400, June 6-8, Atlantic
New Mexico Dental
Association, 9201 Montgomery
Blvd. N.E., Suite 601,
Albuquerque 87111, 1-505-2941368, June 7-9, Albuquerque.
New York State Dental
Association, 121 State St., 4th
Floor, Albany 12207-1622, 1-
JADA, Vol. 137
518-465-0044, Board of
Governors Meeting, June 710, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
North Carolina Dental
Society, P.O. Box 4099, Cary
27519-4099, 1-919-677-1396,
May 17-20, Myrtle Beach,
North Dakota Dental
Association, P.O. Box 1332,
Bismarck 58502-1332, 1-701223-8870, Midwinter
Meeting, Jan. 19-20,
Bismarck; Annual Session,
Sept. 14-16, Fargo.
Ohio Dental Association,
1370 Dublin Road, Columbus
43215-1009, 1-614-486-2700,
Sept. 14-17, Columbus.
Oklahoma Dental
Association, 317 N.E. 13th St.,
Oklahoma City 73104-2835,
1-405-848-8873, April 26-29,
Oklahoma City.
Oregon Dental
Association, P.O. Box 3710,
Wilsonville 97070-3710, 1-503218-2010, Oregon Dental
Conference, April 12-14,
Pennsylvania Dental
Association, P.O. Box 3341,
Harrisburg 17105-3341, 1-717234-5941, April 26-29,
Rhode Island Dental
Association, 200 Centerville
Road, Suite 7, Warwick 028864339, 1-401-732-6833, May 16,
South Carolina Dental
Association, 120 Stonemark
Lane, Columbia 29210-3841, 1803-750-2277, May 3-6, Myrtle
South Dakota Dental
Association, P.O. Box 1194,
Suite 103, 804 N. Euclid, Pierre
57501-1194, 1-605-224-9133,
May 17-20, Rapid City.
Tennessee Dental
Association, Suite 300, 660
Bakers Bridge Ave., Franklin
37067, 1-615-628-0208, May 1720, Nashville.
Texas Dental Association,
1946 S. IH35, Suite 400, Austin
78704, 1-512-443-3675, The
Texas Meeting, May 10-13,
San Antonio.
Utah Dental Association,
1151 E. 3900 South, Suite 160,
Salt Lake City 84124-1216, 1801-261-5315, Feb. 8-9, Salt
Lake City.
Vermont State Dental
Society, 100 Dorset St., Suite
18, South Burlington 054036241, 1-802-864-0115, Sept. 2021, Burlington.
Virginia Dental
Association, 7525 Staples Mill
Road, Richmond 23228, 1-804261-1610, June 14-16,
Washington State Dental
Association, 1001 Fourth Ave.,
Suite 3800, Seattle 98154, 1206-448-1914, Pacific
Northwest Dental
Conference, July 19-20,
West Virginia Dental
Association, 2016-1/2
Kanawha Blvd. East,
Charleston 25311, 1-304-3445246, Annual Session, June
19-22, White Sulphur
Wisconsin Dental
Association, 6737 W.
Washington St., Suite 2360,
West Allis 53214-4815, 1-414276-4520, Jewel of the Great
Lakes, May 10-11, Green
Wyoming Dental
Association, P.O. Box 40019,
Casper 82604, 1-307-237-1186,
June 21-24, Rock Springs.
Compiled by Jennifer Garvin, senior editor,
ADA News.
http://jada.ada.org December 2006
Copyright ©2006 American Dental Association. All rights reserved.