Book Review | Published:

Essential microbiology for dentistry (3rd edition)


Essential microbiology for dentistry (3rd edition)

UK: Elsevier price £39.99, pp 363 ISBN 0443100799 | ISBN: 0-443-10079-9

Following the success of the previous edition, four years on Professor Samaranayake has wisely kept to the format in layout and design that has already made this one of the most readily accessible basic texts for dental undergraduates. The book is divided into six main parts: General Microbiology, Basic Immunology, Microbes of Relevance to Dentistry, Infections of Relevance to Dentistry, Oral Microbiology and Cross-infections and Control.

Each part starts with a summary of the chapters within, how they relate to other sections in the book, and outside sources of information. The reader is introduced to the fundamentals of infectious agents and of the innate and adaptive host defences before encountering infectious agents (bacteria, viruses and fungi) and the diseases they cause. Throughout these sections emphasis is placed on those examples and aspects of particular relevance to the oral cavity and to dentistry which undoubtedly will reinforce the importance of these topics to the most sceptical of dental students.

In Part 5 the book focuses on oral microbiology, starting with the normal flora, followed by chapters covering the microbiology of dental caries, periodontal disease, dentoalveolar infections and oral mucosal and salivary gland infections. Part 6 on cross-infection and control aims to provide a comprehensive summary of the routine infection control regimes required in every dental practice.

This is a book aiming to demonstrate to the dental student that 'the discipline of microbiology is intimately woven into the fabric of dentistry and comprises a crucial component of the dental curriculum'.

As before there is liberal use of tables, diagrams and photographs, clearly laid out to reinforce the text and as useful aids to learning in themselves. The text is written in a style that brings the subject matter clearly and straightforwardly to the reader. Each chapter ends with a list of key facts, a short, relatively up-to-date reading list and a new addition in the form of a self-assessment question and answer section which I think is an excellent idea. New material has been added including advances in molecular biology pertaining to infectious disease, bacterial taxonomy and nomenclature, uncultivable bacteria, biofilms, emerging infections including prion diseases, drug-resistant bacteria and the latest US and UK recommendations for infection control procedures. The greatly expanded index provides improved navigation within topics.

Overall this is a very useful introductory textbook which deserves to be included on the reading list for dental undergraduates and one which I will continue to recommend.

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