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1.  Oral Chlamydia trachomatis in Patients with Established Periodontitis 
Clinical oral investigations  2000;4(4):226-232.
Periodontitis is considered a consequence of a pathogenic microbial infection at the periodontal site and host susceptibility factors. Periodontal research supports the association of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia, and Bacteroides forsythus, and periodontitis; however causality has not been demonstrated. In pursuit of the etiology of periodontitis, we hypothesized that the intracellular bacteria, Chlamydia trachomatis, may play a role. As a first step, a cross-sectional study of dental school clinic patients with established periodontitis were assessed for the presence of C. trachomatis in the oral cavity, and in particular from the lining epithelium of periodontal sites. C. trachomatis was detected using a direct fluorescent monoclonal antibody (DFA) in oral specimens from 7% (6/87) of the patients. Four patients tested positive in specimens from the lining epithelium of diseased periodontal sites, one patient tested positive in healthy periodontal sites, and one patient tested positive in the general mucosal specimen. In conclusion, this study provides preliminary evidence of C. trachomatis in the periodontal sites. Planned studies include the use of a more precise periodontal epithelial cell collection device, the newer nucleic acid amplification techniques to detect C. trachomatis, and additional populations to determine the association of C. trachomatis and periodontitis.
PMCID: PMC2760468  PMID: 11218493
Chlamydia; Chlamydia trachomatis; Fluorescent antibody technique; Periodontal diseases; Periodontitis
2.  Effect of orofacial exercises on oral aperture in adults with systemic sclerosis 
Disability and rehabilitation  2011;34(1):84-89.
To examine the effect of a home orofacial exercise program on increasing oral aperture among adults with systemic sclerosis (SSc).
Forty-eight adults with SSc were assigned randomly to the multi-faceted oral health intervention or usual dental care control group. Participants with an oral aperture of < 40 mm in the intervention group received an orofacial exercise program, which included daily manual mouth-stretching and oral augmentation exercises twice a day with a total of 6 minutes for 6 months. The outcome measure was oral aperture which was measured at baseline, 3-months, and 6-months intervals.
A significantly larger increase in oral aperture for participants received the orofacial exercise program was found when compared to those in the usual care at 3 months (P=0.01), but not at 6 months evaluation. Participants’ adherence rate to the exercise program was low (48.9%).
The orofacial exercise program intervention for adults with SSc and microstomia did not show significant improvement at 6 months. In addition to the low exercise adherence rate, insufficient frequencies, repetitions, and durations of the orofacial exercises may contribute to these results.
PMCID: PMC3437654  PMID: 21951278
Scleroderma; microstomia; interincisal distance
3.  Effect of a Multi-Faceted Intervention on Gingival Health Among Adults with Systemic Sclerosis 
Clinical and experimental rheumatology  2011;29(2 Suppl 65):S26-S32.
To evaluate the effect of adaptive oral hygiene devices and orofacial exercise to improve gingival health among adults with systemic sclerosis (SSc).
Forty-eight patients with SSc were assigned randomly to the multi-faceted oral health intervention or usual dental care control group. Participants in the intervention group received a rechargeable, powered Oral-B® oscillating-rotating-pulsating toothbrush and a Reach® Access™ Flosser that has a toothbrush-like handle. For those with an oral aperture of less than 40 mm, orofacial exercises were taught. Participants in the control group were each given a manual toothbrush and dental floss. Participants in both groups received instructions and demonstration on the use of the devices, and were requested to perform the respective intervention twice a day for 6 months. Evaluations were at baseline, 3-, and 6-months. The main outcome was gingival index (GI), an indicator of gingival inflammation.
Both groups showed significant reduction in GI scores at 6 months (Ps<0.005). Reduction in GI scores of the intervention group at 6 months was 20.8% which is considered to be clinically significant. Compared to the control group, the intervention group showed a significant and larger reduction in GI score by 8% at 6 months (P=0.0007).
Results support the use of adaptive devices and orofacial exercise to improve gingival health in adults with SSc when compared to use of manual toothbrushing and finger-held flossing. Recommending and educating patients with SSc to use adaptive devices to clean the tooth surfaces looks promising for long-term oral health improvement.
PMCID: PMC3520125  PMID: 21586215
oral health; assist devices; systemic sclerosis
4.  Use of the OSCE to Evaluate Brief Communication Skills Training for Dental Students 
Journal of dental education  2007;71(9):1203-1209.
Although communications competency is recommended by the American Dental Education Association, only a few (n=5) dental schools report evaluating students’ skills using a competency examination for communication. This study used an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) to evaluate dental students’ competency in interpersonal and tobacco cessation communication skills. All students were evaluated on their interpersonal communication skills at baseline and at six months post-OSCE by standardized patients and on their tobacco cessation communication skills by two independent raters. First- and second-year dental students (n=104) were randomized to a control or intervention group. One month after the baseline OSCE, students in the intervention group participated in a two-hour training session in which faculty members communicated with a standardized patient during a head and neck examination and counseled the patient about tobacco cessation. There were no statistically significant differences from baseline to post-test between the intervention and control group students as measured by the OSCE. However, among first-year students, both the intervention (n=23) and control (n=21) groups significantly increased in tobacco cessation communication scores. Second-year students in both intervention (n=24) and control (n=28) groups declined in interpersonal communication skills from baseline to post-test. Overall, this one-shot intervention was not successful, and results suggest that a comprehensive communication skills training course may be more beneficial than a single, brief training session for improving dental students’ communication skills.
PMCID: PMC2712283  PMID: 17761627
dental students; communication skills; OSCE; standardized patients

Results 1-4 (4)