Dr. Anna Jotkowitz, a part-time lecturer in Restorative Dentistry and Biomaterials Sciences at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, recently had a chance to lecture the school’s third-year dental students on the fundamentals of dentistry. Her lecture was titled “Pulpal Protection” and was presented as part of The “Treatment of Active Diseases block in the DMD” curriculum. Harvard tries to avoid conventional lecturing, so Dr. Jotkowitz created an informal atmosphere, where her students sat around tables to facilitate discussion.
Here, we will take a quick look at the topic that was discussed
Inside a healthy tooth there is a space referred to as the “pulp space.” This space contains tissues, including blood vessels, and nerve tissue. The pulp of teeth are susceptible to inflammation when bacterial invasion of a tooth has occurred. This can happen for a variety of reasons, and can lead to. to subsequent necrosis if the damage is significant.
Dentists can replace a tooth’s lost tissue by using certain materials, known as restorative materials. These materials are not pulp-friendly. During a restorative procedure, measures to protect the pulp may be necessary to protect the pulp. . Over time, thoughts and approaches to pulp protection have changed. Previously, pulp was considered vulnerable because of the heat conductivity or toxicity of the restorative materials used in the procedures. Now, however, it is believed it is largelyfinvasion of the bacteria down the dentinal tubules that cause pulpal inflammation. . Inflamation of the pulp can be reversible or irreversible and can be treated with various different techniques as determined by the pulps potential for repair and healing.
Harvard considers dentistry as the heart of its specialties in medicine. Its no wonder, then, that its students who attended the lecture were very interactive in the session, and came up with lots of questions and new insights.