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Research programs

In general, research at ACTA focuses on the physiology and pathology of the tissues in and around the oral cavity.

In general, research at the Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA) focuses on the physiology and pathology of the tissues in and around the oral cavity. Our research is number 2 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject. ACTA endeavours to concentrate on 2 research priority areas: Oral infections and inflammation and Oral Regenerative Medicine. These areas have been set up around academically robust groups, with clinical questions as their central topic. Besides the 2 research focuses ACTA also does research on Education.

Research code

How to deal with subjects or human tissue? Or with data management, authorship, the media or academic integrity? About that, and other issues, the VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam (VUmc) and the Academic Medical Center (AMC) jointly wrote a research code. You can download the information via: Research Code

Research programs

  • Oral infections and inflammation

    Tooth decay (caries), gum disease (periodontal inflammation) and root canal inflammation (endodontal inflammation) are caused by infections in your mouth. And there is growing evidence that these illnesses affect your overall health. That is why our scientists within this programme are doing research on how you can prevent these oral diseases (prevention), what causes you to develop this oral disease (etiology) and how you can best treat them.

    To find out what causes these oral diseases, our scientists are looking at specific bacteria in dental plaque, host factors and various individual responses to the inflammation. To investigate how you can prevent these oral diseases, they also look at the use of fluoride and how clean you keep your teeth. In addition, they are also investigating the various treatments that can help cure these oral diseases.

  • Experimental Preventive dentistry, Clinical Cariology and Microbiology

    The formation, structure and properties of biofilms on hard tissue surfaces are studied extensively. The action of anticariogenic and antimicrobial agents are studied in the Constant Depth Film Fermenter (CDFF) and in a microtiter biofilm model.
    Fluoride that, at present, is still the most effective caries-preventive agent is subject for further study. A better understanding of its mode of action, also on the molecular level towards microbial metabolism, as well as its possible side-effects (fluorosis and the induction of a fluoride-resistant oral microflora) will help to improve formulations and the development of fluoride-releasing devices and restorative materials.

    In addition to fluoride, antimicrobials have come into focus as caries preventive agents. The efficacy alone or in combination with fluoride is still unknown and application protocols are not yet based on a critical evaluation of experimental and clinical results. The successes of antimicrobials in caries prevention are still limited.

    All scientific publications (from 2009 until now) for Cariologie/EPT/Microbiologie

  • Endodontology

    The prevention of bacterial penetration in the root dentinal tubules and the root canal by a proper seal of the restoration is of major importance for the life expectance of teeth. Modified disinfection methods of the root canal are studied. New filling methods and contemporary adhesive systems are tested in in vitro leakage models and in clinical studies.

    All scientific publications (from 2009 until now) for Endodontology

  • Paediatric dentistry

    Paediatric dentistry mainly focuses on child related aspects in the treatment of young patients. Better treatment concepts (preventive as well as conservative and in relation to behaviour management) of dental caries in children are studied. Treatment concepts like ART (Atraumatic Restorative Treatment), the influence of total rehabilitation of the children’s dentition on general and oral health, consequences of restorative treatment on the child’s coping and anxiety are under investigation.

    All scientific publications (from 2009 until now) for Paediatric dentistry

  • Periodontology

    Periodontitis is a destructive inflammatory disease of the supporting tissues of the teeth. It is caused by bacteria and affects a substantial part of the human population. Over the age of 45 years it is a major cause for tooth loss. This research program is devoted to clarify the individual differences in susceptibility to periodontitis and to investigate the mechanisms involved in periodontal breakdown and repair/regeneration. In addition the evaluation of the efficacy of new preventive and therapeutic measures is part of the program.

    This research program is devoted to clarify the individual differences in susceptibility to periodontitis and to investigate the mechanisms involved in periodontal breakdown and repair/regeneration. In addition the evaluation of the efficacy of new preventive and therapeutic measures is part of the program ORM: The research of Bioengineering of Bone and Periodontium of the Department of Oral Cell Biology studies the biological processes of functional adaptation and guided regeneration of bone and periodontium. Research focuses on fundamental aspects of mechanotransduction, and tissue engineering of bone, cartilage, and periodontium. The results are used in more applied research towards repair and regeneration of jawbone and periodontium, and prevention/treatment of infections around implants.

    The ACTA research on ORM is also included in the interdisciplinary research institute MOVE, a collaboration between the faculty of Human Movement Sciences, the VU University Medical Center and ACTA. ACTA’s research within MOVE makes up a large part of the research focus Bioengineering, reconstruction and function recovery of dental tissue and bone.

    For general information on research taking place in our department or for researchers interested in a PhD-project at the department of periodontology, you may contact prof. dr. Bruno Loos b.loos@acta.nl. For more information about PhD-projects at ACTA go to: PhD/Graduate School.

    All scientific publications (from 2009 until now) for Periodontology

  • Oral Biochemistry

    Without saliva all oral tissues will be affected by exogenous factors as microorganisms and aggressive nutritional components. Saliva apparently protects oral surface tissues against harmful attacks. The primary aim of the research of the Department of Oral Biochemistry is to analyse the contribution of the individual salivary components, particularly of the (glyco) proteins to maintain oral tissues healthy, also in relation to microbiological aspects of oral infections.

    All scientific publications (from 2009 until now) for Oral Biochemistry 

  • Oral Maxillofacial Surgery

    The research of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/Oral Pathology of ACTA is focussed on early diagnosis of oral cancer and precancer, including cancer of the salivary glands, on surgical orthopedics of the maxillofacial skeleton and on maxillofacial implantology and reconstructive preprosthetic surgery. In addition research is performed on other aspects of oral and maxillofacial surgery, such as osteoradionecrosis and antithrombotic medication. The research is performed at the VU and AMC locations of Amsterdam UMC.

  • Orthodontics

    The research activities at the Department of Orthodontics focus on basic and clinical research in orthodontics and related disciplines. Three main themes exist: 1) Basic and clinical description of environmentally and genetically induced aberrations of facial form, 2) To determine the impact of Orthodontics on the quality of life and 3) To optimize orthodontic material properties and procedures for clinical use.

    All scientific publications (from 2009 until now) for Orthodontics

  • Oral Public Health

    Research of the department is focused on Oral Health-related Well-being and Behaviour, of both patients and general dental practitioners. Three general objectives are guiding the section’s research efforts:

    1. To monitor and improve and the oral health of the Dutch population and to increase patients’ quality of life and satisfaction and the public trust in dentistry;
    2. To assess the determinants and general consequences of occupational stress and well-being of general dental practitioners and their staff;
    3. To study dental anxiety and pain, two major barriers to seek and maintain dental care, of both adult and child-patients, from a multidimensional perspective and with the help of psychologists, dentists, and double-trained staff-members.

    All scientific publications (from 2009 until now) for Oral Public Health


    More information


    View the page of Oral Public Health

  • Oral Regenerative Medicine

    Within this research program, our scientists conduct research on the biological processes related to:

    • the adaptability (adaptation) and recovery of bone;
    • the supporting tissue around the teeth (periodontium);
    • and the biocompatibility of materials used by the dentist to restore dental function.

    They are investigating, among other things, how you can restore bone loss, for example caused by the gum disease periodontis or surgery. In addition, they research the quality and durability of materials, techniques and aids that should help restore this bone loss.

  • Oral Radiology

    The research of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology is focused on the development, improvement and efficacy of diagnostic imaging methods for the visualization of normal and abnormal structures in the maxillofacial complex. This is realized from different perspectives including fundamental and applied (clinical) components. The research field of Diagnostic Imaging Methods at the department of Oral Radiology of ACTA comprises efficacy, accuracy and safety (radiation safety and patient/environmental safety) of diagnostic imaging. Nowadays 3-dimensional X-ray imaging using ConebeamCT plays an important role in dento-maxillo-facial imaging, so also in the research of the department. However also other techniques as infrared imaging, visual light (intraoral and extraoral 3D-video scanning) as well as ultrasound belong to the focus of our research group. Also computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided / navigated surgery based on imaging methods belong to our area of interest.

    Interested in our research?
    Researchers interested in a PhD project or general information on the research performed in our department should contact dr. W.E.R. Berkhout: e.berkhout@acta.nl
     

    All scientific publications (from 2009 until now) for Oral Radiology

  • Orofacial pain and dysfunction

    As one of the dental differentiations in The Netherlands, temporomandibular disorders (TMD) focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of pain and dysfunction of the masticatory system. Bruxism (i.e. tooth clenching and/or grinding) is thought to play an important aetiological role in TMD. Among others, bruxism may result in TMD pain and dental attrition. The close relationship between TMD, bruxism, and attrition necessitates an integrated approach to these clinical problems. This could be achieved through the multidisciplinary differentiation ‘oral kinesiology’, that covers not only the diagnosis and treatment of TMD and bruxism but also the restoration of worn dentitions. In addition, special attention is paid to the diagnosis and treatment of the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome due to its relation with the masticatory system. The Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam offers dental practitioners a postgraduate training in oral kinesiology. This curriculum will ensure that specialized professionals (dentist–kinesiologists), who are able to approach the different aspects of oral kinesiology in an integrated manner, are available not only for the general dental practice but also for centres for special dental care and university departments. This will lead to improved care for patients, whose management is still frequently dispersed between various (dental) specialists.

    Overloading of the constituent tissues of the masticatory system, notably cartilage, bone, muscle tissue, periodontal tissues, and hard dental tissues due to bruxism (i.e., tooth grinding and clenching) and adverse oral habits (e.g., nail biting and excessive gum chewing) may lead to pain and dysfunction of the chewing apparatus. In turn, such conditions may yield risks for the individual’s general health and cognitive abilities. Within the framework of ORM, the causes, consequences, and management of pain and dysfunction of the masticatory system are studied in multiple international and multidisciplinary settings. Chewing, laughing, smiling, talking, yawning etc. are important movement functions of the human masticatory system. Sometimes patients are confronted with problems in performing these functions, which are related to a malfunction of the jaw muscles and/or the temporomandibular joint. This sub-programme studies the normal and disturbed functions of the jaw muscles and the temporomandibular joint, the factors that influence these functions and the treatment modalities that preserve or restore these functions.

    Some results obtained by the department of orofacial pain and dysfuncion

    • Mechanical overloading of the masticatory system was studied in a series of trials concerning bruxism (tooth grinding and clenching). Our insight into the etiology of bruxism was deepened on the basis of multiple epidemiological studies, while the management of the condition was tested with a series of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) using oral splints, psychological counseling, and medication at treatment modalities. The dental management of obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliances also yields a possible overload of the masticatory system. Both the short-term and the long-term usage of such appliances were assessed with polysomnographic techniques in RCTs, with continuous positive airway pressure as the usual treatment option for comparison.
    • Overloading of the masticatory system may lead to temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Clinical tests for the diagnosis TMD were further developed and tested for their reliability and validity. Especially the important influence of asking for familiar pain on the diagnostic accuracy of TMD pain is noteworthy. Studies to the diagnosis of pain in the masticatory system in persons with a dementia are currently ongoing. The importance of chewing in maintaining a good cognition was already demonstrated in a systematic review. The role of several psychosocial factors in the onset and maintenance of TMD pain was assessed in multiple questionnaire studies. Functional disturbances of the temporomandibular joint were studied in a series of experiments, in which the important role of mechanical loading on joint disc reduction was found.
    • Staff Orofacial Pain and Dysfunction
    • All scientific publications (from 2009 until now) for Orofacial Pain and Dysfunction
  • Oral implantology

    The general mission of the programme is to improve the dentist’s knowledge of the treatment modalities that preserve or restore the patient’s function. This with special emphasis on Oral Implantology. The present research programme comprises three major research domains, Stimulation of bone growth around oral implants, oral implants used in prosthetic dentistry and peri-implantitis.

    All scientific publications (from 2009 until now) for Oral Implantology

  • Dental Materials Science

    The general objective of this program is to predict and improve the clinical performance of dental restorative materials covering the complete range of materials involved in the procedures of creating restorations with direct or indirect techniques. Composition, structure and fabrication of the materials as well as their handling and application techniques are studied in vitro as well as in vivo. The increasing trend to replace the difficult and costly manual procedures by automated procedures with information technology is being studied on its merits. In particular the possible advantages of the automated production of indirect restorations by CAD/CAM technology are evaluated.

    All scientific publications (from 2009 until now) for Dental Materials Science

  • Oral Celbiology

    The research of “Bioengineering of Bone and Periodontium” of the Department of Oral Cell Biology studies the biological processes of functional adaptation and guided regeneration of bone and periodontium. Research focuses on fundamental aspects of mechanotransduction, and tissue engineering of bone, cartilage, and periodontium. The results are used in more applied research towards repair and regeneration of jawbone and periodontium, and prevention/treatment of infections around implants.

    All scientific publications (from 2009 until now) for Oral Cell Biology

  • Oral Maxillofacial Surgery

    The research of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/Oral Pathology of ACTA is focussed on early diagnosis of oral cancer and precancer, including cancer of the salivary glands, on surgical orthopedics of the maxillofacial skeleton and on maxillofacial implantology and reconstructive preprosthetic surgery. In addition research is performed on other aspects of oral and maxillofacial surgery, such as osteoradionecrosis and antithrombotic medication. The research is performed at the VU and AMC locations of Amsterdam UMC.

  • Other Research

    Besides the two Research priority areas: 'Oral Infections and Inflammations' and 'Oral Regenerative Medicine', ACTA also researches two other areas:

  • Dental Education

    Research objectives

    In the ACTA faculty of Dentistry research is performed on several aspects of education in dentistry. This includes research on the evaluation of courses within the curriculum, research on new teaching methods, such as the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), and development and evaluation of a computed aided digital teaching system of pre-clinical skills (the Simodont), and comparison with biomedical education elsewhere in Europe.

    The input of academic personnel is limited to staff of the education institute, and to some staff members of the various departments.

    All scientific publications (from 2009 until now) for ACTA Education Institute