The teaching of implant therapy in NYU’s predoctoral dental education program has received a significant boost from Nobel Biocare. The global leader in dental implant products and ceramic restorations has made a generous $5 million donation to the NYU College of Dentistry, half of which will be used to integrate implant therapy into the overall education of the general dentist. The remaining half of the gift is unrestricted and will be used to support additional institutional priorities, including research in the areas of tissue engineering, implant dentistry, dental esthetics and ceramics.

Dr. Michael C. Alfano, Dean of the NYU College of Dentistry, explained the rationale for the new implant therapy curriculum. “While dental schools have done a fine job designing implant education programs at the post-graduate level, most dental schools have only recently begun to present these important therapies as preferred alternatives to conventional restorations in the pre-doctoral clinic in such areas as implant-retained overdentures and single tooth replacements,” he said. “In the past, for example, an edentulous patient in the pre-doctoral clinic might have been offered a conventional full lower denture as opposed to an implant-retained overdenture, which will minimize the loss of bone on the alveolar ridge.

“At NYU, we are determined to rectify the situation by integrating the teaching of implants into all four years of the DDS program. Our objective is to ensure that every NYU dental graduate is competent to provide implant care. Nobel Biocare’s remarkable gift ensures that this new educational process will flourish.”

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first osseointegrated dental implant – a small, titanium structure, which takes the place of the natural root of the tooth and actually bonds or integrates with a patient’s bone as securely as the natural root. Commenting on the corporation’s gift to the NYU College of Dentistry, Nobel Biocare President and CEO Heliane Canepa said, “Every dental patient deserves to select from the best possible treatment alternatives available today. Limitations in dental education should not be a deciding factor in patient treatment options. To ensure patients are offered the best solution to increase their quality of life, dental implant training and education needs to be incorporated into the predoctoral program and the NYU College of Dentistry is a perfect partner for us to cooperate with to develop such a program.”

The gift was facilitated by Dr. Jonathan L. Ferencz, special assistant to the Dean and a Clinical Professor of Prosthodontics at NYU College of Dentistry, who is also a consultant to Nobel Biocare.

“NYU College of Dentistry is one of only a handful of schools in the United States that are conducting a fully-integrated implant therapy program,” said Dr. Ferencz. I am thrilled that Nobel Biocare is supporting this initiative and confident that the NYU/Noble Biocare joint effort will produce meaningful breakthroughs in basic and clinical research, as well as significant improvements in patient care.”

Dr. Leila Jahangiri, an Assistant Professor of Prosthodontics and Chair of NYU’s Dr. Louis Blatterfein Department of Prosthodontics, will oversee the new predoctoral implant curriculum. “We are enthusiastic about building a new, more proactive model of implant dentistry education that is more closely aligned with consumer expectations,” said Dr. Jahangiri.

“For the first time, predoctoral dental students at every stage of their education will be taught concepts that help integrate knowledge of implant therapy into overall treatment plans for optimal patient care. For example, in studying the anatomy of the head and neck, first-year students will also study post-extraction changes in the edentulous jaw. Similarly, second-year students studying restorative options will learn how to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that values implant restorations appropriately compared with other options. Then, in the third and fourth years, students will be required to restore both a partially and a completely edentulous patient using single tooth implants and mandibular implant overdentures.”

Mandibular implant overdentures refer to lower dentures, which can be snapped onto a pair of titanium screws that have been carefully placed into the mandible. These screws serve as anchors for a full lower denture, which can simply be snapped into place. This is very good news for the millions of Americans who wear conventional dentures and whose retention problems make them, in effect, “dental cripples,” especially in the lower jaw where bone resorption can be four times greater than in the upper jaw. Implant overdentures reduce further bone loss and provide retention to hold lower dentures securely in place. Patients report immense improvement in chewing sensation and function, along with significant positive effects on their general health and social lives.

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