Journal Archive > 2002 > June

Cocaine cavities

Cavity pattern linked to cocaine

A specific pattern of cavities on the facial surfaces of bicuspid and canine teeth is often seen among people who use cocaine or prepare it for use, according to a study by a researcher at Tufts School of Dental Medicine.

Dr. Stephen Driscoll, assistant clinical professor of general dentistry, reviewed the dental records of 110 adult male prison inmates and found 11 who had cavities fitting the pattern and who admitted to cocaine use.

The inmates described cutting cocaine with confectioner's sugar or cream of tartar and then testing it for quality by rubbing it across their gums. A predictable, sequential pattern of carious lesions was seen, depending on whether the patient was left-handed or right-handed.

Driscoll presented his research at the 2002 meeting of the International Association for Dental Research/American Association for Dental Research in San Diego.