What has been learned in the intervening years which confirms Dr. Price’s contributions to mankind?
Research about endondontic treatment since that time has been extensive and, for the most part, corroborates Dr.Price’s discoveries. At the same time, Price’s questions continue to add new dimensions to understanding problems inherent in the dental profession’s effort to save teeth and keep people healthy.
Let me tell you about some of the scientific research which confirms Dr. Price’s major revelations and adds so much to our understanding of this subject. What follows includes a bit more technical information than I like to present to lay audiences. However, knowing some dentists and physicians will read this book because of their own interest in the subject or because of the demands of their patients, it seems necessary to include at least a minimum of scientific data to emphasize studies which support and confirm the Price discoveries.
The following men made important contributions to society in this regard: Milton J. Rosenau, M.D. One of the medical greats who contributed much to our knowledge of the process of focal infection was Dr. Milton J. Rosenau, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene at Harvard Medical School In Boston. In 1939, in an article published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, Rosenau reported isolating streptococci bacteria from an ulcer in the bowel of a patient ill with “mucous colitis.” He transferred the bacteria involved in the ulcer through intravenous injection into several animals and reproduced in them a similar colitis. Extensive medical work to try to locate the source of the bowel infection was solved when he found the patient had a crowned bicuspid which had a large abscess at its root end.
Cultures made from the infected area were injected intravenously into a rabbit. In 72 hours the rabbit developed a bleeding, necrosing colitis which proved to contain the same family of bacteria involved in the patient’s tooth. But Rosenau’s experimental work didn’t end there. He then planted these bacteria in some of the teeth of a dog. X-ray photographs revealed these teeth developed abscesses quite similar to those found originally in the patient. What is more, after 16 months the dog developed ulcerative colitis.
To further his work, Dr. rosenau transferred into the teeth of dogs other strains of streptococci taken from patients with a variety of diseases, either acute or chronic, such as nephritis (kidney disease with stones), cystitis (bladder), stomach ulcers, arthritis, and various central and peripheral nerve diseases. Fifty-two dogs were involved and 1014 dogs who were not inoculated were used as controls. Between 47 percent and 75 percent of the animals developed the same diseases as had the patients.
Dr. Rosenau was criticized that he too often found streptococcus bacteria in diseases transferred via focal infection. He pointed out the streptococcus organisms were commonly found to be responsible for the largest number of chronic cases of invalidism. You will remember that Dr. Price also found streps the most frequent oral organisms involved in causing degenerative diseases.
Franklin Billings, M.D. It was Frank Billings, M.D. Dean of the Faculty, Professor and Head of the Department of Medicine and Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago, who located and identified the first focal infection in the mouth. In 1914, Dr. Billings wrote: “Focal infection is most commonly situated in the head, but may be located in any organ or tissue.” What he meant was, while it was possible for a focal infection to rise from any where in the body, its most probable starting site was in the mouth.
It must be kept in mind that in the beginning, studies disclosed the transfer of bacteria from the teeth and tonsils was found to infect the heart, bone joints, kidneys, etc. As time went on, more and more organs and tissues were found to be involved in diseases which originated in the mouth.
It would have been better had Dr. Billings been able to spell out the original findings and then add his new discoveries, for many people who had trouble understanding bacteria could be transferred from the mouth to other tissues opposed his frequent addition of new areas, even though it should have been obvious search addition was a new discovery. These objections were partially responsible for the focal infection theory battles which came about.
Eventually Dr. Billings was to state that at least 99 percent of the focally infected diseases arose from the tonsils or teeth, and only one percent or less from all the other sources combined. Some of those other sources proved to be the sinuses, Lungs, Intestines, toenails, and tonsil tags or stumps, but keep in mind these bacteria could originate anywhere.
Copyright (c) 2007 Sung Lee, and George Meinig D.D.S