Book A Supplement to Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry July 2004 is available to download free in pdf format.
We are grateful to The Colgate-Palmolive Company for the educational grant that supports this issue because it deals with a process that affects most of our patients: inflammation in the oral cavity. Understanding the advances that have been made in identifying all of the reactions that occur with inflammation is of great importance to dentists, dental students, and dental hygienists. When the inflammatory lesion is recognized in our patients, it becomes imperative that a treatment plan to eliminate or reduce that process is implemented. The clinician also must be aware of the recent observations that indicate a possible oral–systemic link in patients with periodontal diseases who are pregnant; those at risk for cardiovascular disease; and those suffering from diabetes. Interestingly, the prevailing theory on coronary artery disease is the Ross Theory. Russell Ross,a who was a dentist and chaired the Department of Pathology at the University of Washington Medical School, wrote that atherosclerosis in coronary vessels was an inflammatory process. Today, more and more research studies are examining the possible mechanisms involved in linking inflammatory changes in oral tissues to systemic manifestations. Those in the profession today realize that the presence of gingivitis and periodontitis may have far greater implications on total systemic health than ever imagined before. This issue of The Compendium should be of great value to everyone involved in the treatment of patients with inflammatory changes in the oral cavity.