Spring 2006 Table of Contents
Celebrating Our Community
International Implant Program Student Wins First Prize at Academy of Osseointegration Meeting

Dr. Ayako Zenitani

Students, faculty and alumni at the Academy of Osseointegration's 2006 annual meeting

From left: Dr. Dennis Tarnow, Dr. Hong Kim, Dr. Tae Sung Kim, Dr. Nicolas Elian, Dr. Sang-Choon Cho

From left: Dr. Yoon Suk Seo, Dr. Zev Kaufman, Dr. Ayako Zenitani

An 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 anonymity).

"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 of dentists.

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. Froum, 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 field."

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."