implant dentistry student in the Advanced Program for International
Dentists didn't have
to look very far for information when
she began work on a poster that took first prize at the spring 2006
annual meeting of the Academy of Osseointegration.
When Dr. Ayako Zenitani, a first-year student from Japan, wanted
to develop her presentation on the relationship between sinus morphology
and vital bone formation in patients who have had maxillary sinus
augmentation, she searched a computer database that exhaustively
documents hundreds of cases handled by the Ashman Department of Implant
Dentistry since 1995. The database, developed by Dr. Stuart Froum,
a Clinical Professor of Periodontology and Implant Dentistry and
Director of Implant Dentistry Clinical Research,
and Dr. Sang-Choon Cho, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Periodontology
and Implant Dentistry and Associate Director of Clinical Research,
documents every procedure performed in the clinic - right down
to the diameter and length of every implant (while maintaining patient
"Our database contains notes on the benefits and limitations
of every kind of implant," says Dr. Cho, "with every
student and faculty member required to describe specific details,
such as the type of abutment, occlusal surface and prosthetic anchorage."
Dr. Zenitani located notes in the database on more than a dozen sinus
augmentation patients, analyzed vital bone formation in nine of those
cases, and compared her findings with reports on dozens of other
cases she unearthed in a literature review. Her analysis led her
to determine that there was less vital bone formation six to eight
months after surgery in wider sinuses than in narrower ones - a
conclusion suggesting clinicians should wait longer before placing
implants in patients with wider sinuses, to allow more time for the
bone to develop.
Dr. Zenitani is one of a growing number of Advanced Program in
Implant Dentistry students whose research has been accepted for
presentation by the Academy in recent years. In fact, in the past
five years, NYUCD students have presented more than
50 posters - about one out of every
10 poster presentations at the meeting, an event which attracts thousands
According to Dr. Dennis P. Tarnow, Professor and Chairman of the
Ashman Department of Peridontology and Implant Dentistry, much of
the credit for this development goes to three faculty members: Dr.
Dr. Elian, and Dr. Cho.
In 2000, Dr. Elian, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Periodontology
and Implant Dentistry and the Director of the Advanced Study Program
in Implant Dentistry, instituted a mandatory student research requirement.
Recognizing the usefulness of the computer database for evidence-gathering,
Dr. Elian directed every student to undertake a retrospective study
of a particular device or technique, using the database as their
primary resource. "I made research a requirement," Dr.
Elian says, "because understanding how it is conducted,
and learning how to evaluate it
critically, are essential for keeping up to date in this fast-changing
Students work on this project throughout their first and second
years under the direction of Dr. Froum, who has authored hundreds
of articles on implant dentistry. "Many of the students haven't
done research before," says Dr. Froum, "so we work
together to revise their presentations and focus on what is most
significant. It can be a painstaking process, but when it's
over, they are usually gratified that they could produce research
good enough to present at a major international meeting."