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Sue C. Kaste, DO
Survivors of childhood bone marrow transplantation (BMT) whose teeth have not yet reached full maturity at the time of transplant tend to experience an increase in root stunting after this procedure, according to a study by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital researchers. This suggests that routine dental evaluation and meticulous dental hygiene are required both before and for a long time after BMT, the researchers said.
A report on this study appears in the October issue (volume 8) of Bone Marrow Transplantation.
The study was based on a retrospective review of medical records and radiographs of 99 patients who underwent BMT at St. Jude between 1990 and 2000 (52 males, 47 females; median age 13.5 years at time of BMT). Before BMT, 56 (56.6 percent) of the patients had abnormal teeth, while after BMT, 79 (79.8 percent) had abnormal dentition. Researchers observed no statistically significant increase in any dental abnormality except root stunting.
The finding is significant because as more children survive after BMT the incidence of long-term effects among such children will increase and may require specialized care later on, said Sue Kaste, DO, St. Jude Radiological Sciences, senior author of the paper.
Other St. Jude authors include Chris Rowland, DDS, St. Jude Dentistry Division; Xin Tong and Deo Kumar Srivastava, PhD, St. Jude Biostatistics; Gregory Hale, MD, and Richard Rochester, St. Jude Hematology-Oncology.
Last update: December 2005