Cariology, Endodontology and Pediatric Dentistry

Diseases of dental hard tissues and endodontium, prevention and treatment in all age groups – focusing on maintaing healthy dentition through life

Good oral health in childhood is associated with good oral health, oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL)  and general well-being through life. Oral and dental diseases are still common in developing as well as developed countries. More than 620 million children suffer from poor condition of primary dentition and decay of permanent teeth still is the most common chronic disease worldwide. Problems tend to accumulate on certain individuals: those with poor oral health, also have other problems in life. Socio-economic inequality as an indicator for deteriorating oral health seems to remain a constant phenomenon, also in Finland, although the WHO set already in 1908s a goal of reducing inequality (WHO 2008).

According to today’s recommendations, all clinical practises must be based on early diagnosis and risk estimation, which help to choose between treatment options and guide practises towards non-invasive/preventive and self-care instead of the operative one. Thus developing and testing diagnostic and risk estimate instruments is essential.

The research lines of this research group are in accord with those of the University of Oulu. The research group aims to investigate prevalence of achieved and hereditary diseases of dental hard tissues  as well as associated OHRQoL in different Finnish populations (school-children, 1986- 1966- NFBC, inmates, fearful dental patients, drop-outs operated due to congentital heart diseases), and also among Nepalese and Hungarian school-children. The aim is also to investigate use of dental services and oral health in the 1966-NFBC population.

New digital and optical caries diagnostics methods are developed and investigated together with the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering in the University of Oulu. Also digital risk assessment is in focus. Validity and reliability of Raman-sketroscopy in caries diagnostics is investigated with Biocenter expertiese. In addition to diagnostics, causes of failure of restorative and endodontic treatment are investigated in practise-based studies to find ways to improve quality of clinical practises. An importnant research line investigates bonding of restorations to tooth tissue.

The available data, including clinical, behavioral and genetic data, are unique nationally and internationally (1986- and 1966 NFBC, Oral Health of the Conscripts 2011), and consequently research based on them likewise. Research on oral health of the inmates and children with congenital heart diseases is at present non-existent in Finland and therefore most important. The same is true for a national study on children’s oral health, OHRQoL, and anthropometrics. Research on this topic using the same protocol in Finland, Nepal and Hungary provide a picture of situation in a modern, developed  and developing countries.


New openings

New openings comprise a mobile application “Denny the tooth” for promoting oral health among children.  Genetical studies also comprise a new era, be it genetics behind erosive tooth wear, dental caries or hypodontia or regional odontodysplasia.



The research group works under Medical Research Center (MRC), Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu. The group has collaboration within the Research Center of Oral Health Research as well as with the City of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital. There is national collaboration with the Defence Forces as well as with the University of Eastern Finland, in Oulu, Biocenter and Faculty of Medicine and Technical Faculty are collaborators. Collaboration with the Defence Forces continues.

International companions of collaboration are NIOM, Norway, University of Bern Switzerland (professor Lussi) and Kathmandu University School of Medicine, Nepal.



Vuokko Anttonen Professor, PhD, DDS, specialist in Cariology, Endodontology and Pediatric Dentistry; Head of the Research Unit of Oral Health Sciences

Leo Tjäderhane Research manager, professor, PhD, DDS specialist in Cariology, Endodontology and Pediatric Dentistry

Marja-Liisa Laitala Associate professor, PhD, DDS, Specialist in Dental Public Health

Kristiina Oikarinen-Juusola Assistant professor, DDS, specialist in Cariology, Endodontology 

Sari Koskinen DDS, Specialist in Pediatric Dentistry in Oulu University Hospital

Jukka Leinonen Assistant professor, PhD, DDS, specialist in Cariology, Endodontology (on leave)


Post doc

Tarja Tanner PhD, BDS

Antti Kämppi MSc, PhD, DDS

Viivi Alaraudanjoki PhD, BDS


PhD students

Sajeen Amatya MSc, BDS (Justus Reunanen from Biocenter is the Principal supervisor) - Non-invasive early screening of oral cancer via Metamining tumor-associated microbiota to discover tumor-homing adhesins

Saujanya Karki BDS, MPH– Oral Health and OHRQoL of Nepalese children – population based study

Anne Laajala BDS, specializing in Cariology, Endodontology - Dental Caries in 1966 NFBC

Ossi Miettinen DDS, specialist in Prosthodontics - TMD problems among young males – based on data of Oral Health of the Conscripts 2011 -project

Mirja Methuen DDS, Specialist in Cariology, Endodontology and Pediatric Dentistry Oral health and OHRQoL in the Panic study population

Päivi Rajavaara DDS specialist in Cariology, Endodontology and Pediatric Dentistry – Causes leading to DGA among healthy children - survey

Raija Vainionpää DDSOral health, OHRQoL and dental fear among prisoners

Antti Toratti BDS– Mobile software for oral health promotion among children


Specialising dentists

Päivi Havela BDS (Cariology-Endodontology)

Anne Laajala BDS (Cariology-Endodontology)

Johanna Palviainen BDS (Pediatric dentistry)

Maiju Varimo BDS (Cariology-Endodontology)

Last updated: 23.10.2018