Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dental Medicine

First Committee Member

Karl Kingsley

Second Committee Member

Clifford Seran

Third Committee Member

Katherine Howard

Fourth Committee Member

Jennifer Pharr

Number of Pages



Screening for the Novel Cariogenic Pathogen Scardovia wiggsiae among Orthodontic Patients


Adam Whiteley

Dr. Karl Kingsley, Examination Committee Chair Professor of Biomedical Sciences University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine

The recent discovery of a novel cariogenic pathogen Scardovia wiggsiae has led many scientists and oral health researchers to re-evaluate and re-examine existing saliva repositories to determine the prevalence among patient populations. Recent efforts at this institution have used existing saliva samples to determine the prevalence among both adults and pediatric patients. These studies have revealed this organism may be found in approximately one-quarter of all samples tested.

However, the introduction of orthodontic brackets has traditionally increased the risk of caries lesions and the growth of cariogenic organisms – which may suggest the prevalence of this organism may be different among orthodontic patient populations. To determine if any differences could be found among the adult and pediatric orthodontic patient population, retrospective screenings of previously collected orthodontic patient saliva were performed. These studies revealed a similar but slightly lower prevalence among adult orthodontic patients but a much higher (almost twice) prevalence among pediatric orthodontic patients.

Although these data have been generated from retrospective analysis of existing saliva repositories, the results to date strongly suggest an inverse, age-dependent relationship between orthodontic treatment and Scardovia prevalence. Higher percentages of pediatric (younger) orthodontic patients in both studies harbored this organism, while no similar finding was observed among adult orthodontic patients

Due to the recent discovery of Scardovia wiggsiae, few studies have gathered sufficient information to provide information regarding prevalence – particularly among high-risk populations. The combined data from each of the five studies at this institution provide strong evidence that prevalence is similar among pediatric and adult populations, however those pediatric patients undergoing orthodontic therapy and treatment may exhibit much higher prevalence of this organism for reasons that have yet to be elucidated. More research will be needed to discovery the underlying reasons for these findings and to determine if the presence (or absence) of this organism may be related to higher or lower caries risk.


Braces; Caries; Oral; Pediatric; Saliva; S. wiggsiae


Biology | Dentistry | Microbiology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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