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† D. Surprising New Uses For Dental X-Rays

Narrator: This is Science Today. Too often, people at risk of a stroke donít find out until itís too late. Thatís why a panoramic dental x-ray has the potential to become a valuable screening test in asymptomatic patients. Dr. Arthur Friedlander, an oral surgeon at UCLA, says although cardiologists have their own sophisticated tests...

Friedlander: Physicians limit these tests to individuals who are all ready demonstrating the early signs of an impending stroke, whereas dentists see millions of patients each year, who believe, probably incorrectly, that theyíre free of the danger of an impending stroke.

Narrator: If white spots show up on a patients neck during this x-ray, thatís plaque in the carotid artery, which can break off and cause a stroke. But there are other implications.

Friedlander: The disease process thatís taking place in the neck, known as atherosclerosis, is also taking place in all the other blood vessels in the body.

Narrator: So, getting patients to the doctor sooner, may also prevent future heart attacks. For Science Today, Iím Larissa Branin.