How can we best diagnose and plan treatment of apical periodontitis based on radiographic technologies? This is a central research theme for Assistant Professor Casper Kruse, born 1978, who is a researcher in the interdisciplinary field of endodontics and radiology.
More than half of all adults in the Danish population suffer from apical periodontitis; an inflammatory disease around the root apices. Diagnosing and treatment planning of apical periodontitis highly depends on radiology, and in this context, Casper Kruse mainly investigates the use of CT-scan.
“We are working to increase our knowledge of when a patient will actually benefit from a CT-scan, since this is not always the case. Our results provide important knowledge for dentists and not least the patients who will, in the end, pay the extra cost of a CT-scan; both in terms of money and being exposed to the extra radiation dose,” says Casper Kruse, whose results have been implemented in the resent European guidelines for the use of CT in endodontics.
Contributing to a common scientific definition of how to diagnose apical periodontitis with the use of CT is among Casper Kruse’s goals. In collaboration with researchers from the Department of Biomedicine at Aarhus University, he is currently building a collection of human specimens that he and the affiliated research groups are using both as objects for test-imaging of different imaging techniques and to build histopathological reference-standards for the disease.
Establishing radiographic diagnostic criteria based on histopathology will enable researchers to follow the dynamic processes of disease development as well as to monitor and assess healing after endodontic treatment of apical periodontitis. However, Casper Kruse also believes that these criteria will enable researchers and clinicians to make more accurate diagnoses – with great impact in the dental clinics.
“If we are able to guide the clinicians to when a CT-scan may most possibly better the quality of diagnosis and treatment, we have taken a quantum leap. This is in my opinion the optimal way to improve our patients’ oral health,” states Casper Kruse who still practices endodontics alongside his scientific career.