Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Science

First Committee Member

Karl Kingsley

Second Committee Member

Cliff Seran

Third Committee Member

Cody Hughes

Fourth Committee Member

Jennifer Pharr

Number of Pages



Dental caries has mainly been associated with Streptococcus, Lactobacillus, Actinomyces and Veillonella species. But in recent salivary studies a new cariogenic pathogen, has been identified. This new bacteria, Scardovia wiggsiae (SW), is currently being tested within the UNLV School of Dental Medicine patient population. Although these current studies are being conducted to study its prevalence in both pediatric and adult populations, it has not been evaluated among patients with an altered oral environment as seen in patients with orthodontic appliances. Fixed orthodontic appliances increase the difficulty of removing daily plaque on and in between the teeth with standard oral hygiene practices. Approximately 73% of orthodontic patients get at least one new lesion during orthodontic care. Understanding the cause of cavities and the key bacteria involved in patients with orthodontic appliances will help us learn how to best evaluate the risk of caries during orthodontic treatment and design strategies for reducing or preventing this disease process. The initial focus of this study will be to assess health parameters among orthodontic patient samples for comparison with non-orthodontic patients. We will also compare SW prevalence among the orthodontic patient samples with samples taken from non-orthodontic patients. Other microbial prevalence data will also be concurrently evaluated, including S. mutans, and P. gingivalis prevalence – which will also be analyzed in conjunction with the aforementioned health parameters.


Bacteria; Caries; Minorities; Orthodontics; Underserved


Biology | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Dentistry

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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