Temple Times Online Edition
    DECEMBER 8, 2005
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TU dental professors give thumbs-up to time-saving implant

A recent study conducted by professors at the School of Dentistry found that patients no longer have to endure multiple surgeries and long periods of healing when having a tooth replaced with a dental implant.

After testing the design of the BioHorizons Dental Implant System, Jon Suzuki, associate dean for graduate education, research, and international relations; and Carl Misch, BioHorizon co-inventor and director of oral implantology at the School of Dentistry, determined that this system’s engineering can support complete tooth restoration immediately after the implant is positioned.

“Half of all Americans suffer from tooth loss, and despite the growing cost, many seek implants to restore normal speech, function and hard and soft tissue contours,” said Suzuki.

Images courtesy BioHorizons Implant Systems Inc.

At Temple’s dental clinic, the entire procedure, including the replacement tooth, costs anywhere from $1,200 to $1,500 and that cost can double in a private dental practice.

But according to Suzuki, cost is only one source of stress for patients. The traditional method requires an initial surgery to place an anchor inside the gum. Then, patients must wait at least six months for the gum tissue and bone, which holds the anchor in place, to grow around the addition. Furthermore, if a post (an attachment that connects the anchor to the replacement tooth) is not already attached, a second surgery is needed.

“This long process causes many patients to withdraw socially because of their appearance and speech,” Suzuki said. “And once the gum has healed, it could take a few more months to get the proper fitting for the tooth.”

Implants are not for everyone. According to the American Dental Association, implant candidates must be in good health, and have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implants. Suzuki adds that patients with severe osteoporosis or other widespread conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes mellitus should also avoid the procedure.

Under Suzuki’s direction, the School of Dentistry is establishing an international program to teach advanced dental practices and techniques, including dental implants, to professionals in other countries. Suzuki is also working to increase the Dental School’s research and clinical trials in areas such as immunology, new therapies and new products.

- By Tory Harris