As discussed in previous post, a link between epigenetics and aggressive periodontitis has implications for a new approach for the treatment of diagnose periodontal disease and identifying patients at risk.
Epigenetics is also related to other dental diseases, such as orthodontics, while mechanism of action and research directions are different. Beside epigenetic changes that affect gene expression, the orthodontic studies mainly focus on the “bigger picture” of epigenetics and tends to categorize environmental factors, such as forces acting on the jaw, as inducing growth or remodelling at the condyle. Thus, epigenetics function in orthodontics may be to diagnose growth-related problems and to determine precisely each patient’s developmental status and polymorphisms for growth factors and signalling molecules. In addition, since DNA methylation is involved in this X-chromosome inactivation, genetic imprinting and tissue gene expression, amelogenin, expressed from the X and Y chromosomes, also can be regulated by the epigenetic changes.
Some children are very fear of dental treatment. Some studies suggest that, for these children, their dental anxiety may have deeper roots from the parent than learned behaviour. This implies that it is necessary to seek epigenetic changes for dental fear in children.
Altogether, epigenetics may be used as a potential tool for a range of dental diseases in future.