Studying antibiotic use in dentistry

Bodil Lund is a dentist who is researching how the dental care services can help to stem antibiotic resistance by making more prudent use of antibiotics. Her work also includes the diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular (TMJ or jaw joint) problems.

Bodil Lund
Bodil Lund is a Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and also Head of the Department of Dental Medicine. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman.

What are you researching?

“I’m a dentist and am researching two different fields. The largest is the use of antibiotics in dentistry. The overuse of antibiotics in healthcare is causing ever greater problems of antibiotic resistance. Globally speaking, dentistry accounts for 10 per cent of antibiotic use. In Sweden, we’ve brought it down to around 7 per cent, so it’s an area of much significance. If we’re to reduce antibiotic use in Sweden without compromising patient safety, we need to do the research.”

Can you go into more detail?

“An important aspect of my work is to produce clinical recommendations and guidelines based on the current science, and to do this we’re collaborating on a national and international level. Another part of my research on antibiotics involves charting their current use. We’re also comparing treatment options in our own clinical studies to fill the gaps in our knowledge of the field."

“Much of this concerns implant surgery, which accounts for a large proportion of antibiotic use by dentists. Antibiotic use by the dental health services in Sweden has dropped by 30 per cent since 2007, and a study that we’re about to publish shows that the rate of serious infection has not increased during this time.”

What is your other research field?

“Problems of the temporomandibular joint, which are often overlooked when talking about joint problems. These are relatively common, and if severe can seriously affect the quality of life. Surgery is used in such cases and my research is about finding factors that can predict surgical outcomes and possible causes of unsuccessful surgery. About 2 per cent of patients can’t be helped, and their temporomandibular joint function actually deteriorates. If we can identify such patients in advance, we can prevent a great deal of suffering. One thing we’ve discovered is that a certain type of pain symptom correlates with a higher risk of surgical failure.”

Bodil Lund

Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Department of Dental Medicine

Bodil Lund was born in Stockholm in 1967 and studied dentistry at KI, graduating in 1993. She obtained her PhD at KI in 2003, after which she continued to do research and teach at the university until 2017. She was made docent in 2011.

From 2017 to July 2021, Bodil Lund was a professor at Bergen University, Norway, where she was made head of department in January 2020. Bodil Lund has consistently combined research and teaching with clinical work. She became a specialist in jaw surgery in 2011. On her return to KI, she will become consultant jaw surgeon at Karolinska University Hospital and, as of 17 October, head of KI’s Department of Dental Medicine.

Bodil Lund was appointed Profes- sor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Karolinska Institutet on 1 August 2021.

Text: Anders Nilsson
First published in the booklet From Cell to Society 2021