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The keynote speaker at the Academy of Osseointegration's annual meeting says that applications of digital technology to dental implant procedures are "causing a revolution no less important and dramatic than that of the railroads."

The program planned for the Academy of Osseointegration’s 27th Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Ariz., March 1-3, will take multidisciplinary education “to a whole new level,” promises Program Chair Dr. Michael S. Block, Metairie, La. The program will be held in the Phoenix Convention Center.

“The Program Committee wanted to bring together the leaders — if you will, the real players, the gurus — and team them up in a multidisciplinary team concept,” Dr. Block says. “In planning the program, we recognized that dental implant specialists don’t work in a vacuum. We borrow from our industrial colleagues. We are one small, very important part of the health-care delivery system,” he adds.

Speakers include familiar names such as Drs. Lyndon Cooper, Ole Jensen, and Maurice Salama, and many less familiar ones, including Ping Fu (keynote speaker for the session on digital technology), Ernesto Lee, Isabella Rocchietta, Nigel Saynor, Antoni Tomsia, and Rocky Tuan.

In her keynote on Saturday, March 3, Ping Fu, chairman and CEO of Geomagic, Research Triangle, N.C., will tell the AO audience that applications of digital technology to dental implant procedures are “causing a revolution no less important and dramatic than that of the railroads.” Her topic is “From Bits to Atoms: The Digital Technology Behind the Esthetic Function and Efficacy.”

“Dental implant procedures today use digital technology for effective replacement, improved patient experiences, and treatment planning,” Ping said. “Health-care processes that once took place only face-to-face can now be executed electronically.”

Other newsmaking presentations, all given Friday, March 2, include:

  • More than 16 years after implant placement, the cumulative survival rate of a group of single implant patients treated at the Dental Specialist Clinic in Malmö, Sweden, between 1987 and 1993, was 91.5%, a Belgian researcher reported.
  • “After more than 16 years of function, all surviving implants were still supporting a functional single crown,” reported Dr. Melissa Dierens, Department of Periodontology and Oral Implantology, University Hospital of Ghent, Gent, Belgium. Although titanium dental implants have been used for single tooth replacement since the late 1980s, few long-term studies have been available about their success.
  • Use of short dental implants in some patients can avoid major surgeries, save time, reduce costs, and eliminate possible complications associated with grafting procedures, a Swiss researcher reported. Dr. Daniel S. Thoma, Zurich, Switzerland, reported the results of a randomized, controlled, multicenter study comparing short implants (6 mm) to standard length implants (11-15 mm) with sinus grafting.
  • Electrical stimulation expedites bone graft healing and can increase the predictability and contribute to the overall success of this option for patients who lack the bone density required for dental implants, a University of Maryland research team reported. In a pilot study of the effect of electrical stimulation on healing bone grafts, an animal study with adult male rats, Dr. Garima K. Talwar, Baltimore, MD, a postgraduate student at the University of Maryland Baltimore Dental School, concluded that electrical stimulation produced significantly more bone formation and less remaining graft than a control group that received no electrical stimulation.
  • Immediate Implant Placement: Is it Safe and Predictable,” Dr. Stephen L. Wheeler, Encinitas, Calif.
  • “Use of Stem Cells to Generate Hard and Soft Tissue,” Dr. Rocky Tuan, Pittsburgh, Pa.


The theme for the meeting is “Technology to Practice,” and Dr. Block says attendees can take it quite literally. “The program will allow attendees to reduce technology to practice. They will be able to put what they learn to work in their practices immediately,” he says.

Program highlights begin with Thursday’s Opening Symposium, “Solutions to Common Clinical Problems,” moderated by Dr. Avishai Sadan, Los Angeles, Calif. Speakers and topics are:

  • Case Study #1: Anterior Esthetic Restorations in the Non-ideal Patient, Drs. Marco A. Brindis, New Orleans, La., and Nigel A. Saynor, S. Manchester, Cheshire, UK
  • Case Study #2: Replacement of Central Incisor with Adjacent Gingival Recession, Drs. Maurice A. Salama, Atlanta, Ga. (Clinical Alternatives to Esthetic Soft Tissue Dilemmas), and Takashi Watanabe, Iwaki Fukushima, Japan (Non-Grafting Solutions).
  • Case Study #3: The 6 mm Posterior Mandible, Drs. Ole T. Jensen, Greenwood Village, Colo. (Vertical Ridge Augmentation of the Posterior Mandibular Ridge), and Homayoun H. Zadeh, Los Angeles, Calif. (The Application of Short Implants in Posterior Sites with Vertical Alveolar Ridge Atrophy)


Saturday’s program on Digital Technology, moderated by Dr. Harold S. Baumgarten, Philadelphia, Pa., opens with Dr. David G. Gratton, Iowa City, Iowa, addressing “The Virtual Environment: Total Digital Solutions.” Ping Fu’s presentation is next.

Concluding speakers on this high-impact digital technology program are:

  • Digital Technology: Intraoral Digital Scanning, Dr. Curtis E. Jansen, Monterey, Calif.
  • Digital Technology to Enhance Abutments, Ceramics and Occlusion, Dr. Dean Vafiadis, New York, N.Y.
  • Extraoral Scanning and CAD/CAM Milling, Dr. Lyndon F. Cooper, Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • Immediate Provisionalization from the Surgical Perspective, Dr. Alan M. Meltzer, Voorhees, N.J.
  • Immediate Provisionalization from the Restorative Perspective, Dr. Ernesto A. Lee, Bryn Mawr, Pa.


The blockbuster Closing Symposium with the theme, “The Art of Patient Rehabilitation,” will be moderated by Dr. David A. Garber, Atlanta, Ga. Topics and speakers are:

  • Update of the Use of Nanostructures to Enhance Tissue Engineering, Dr. Antoni Tomsia, Berkeley, Calif.
  • The Art of Patient Rehabilitation (Part I), Dr. Ueli Grunder, Zollikon-Zurich, Switzerland
  • The Art of Patient Rehabilitation (Part II), Dr. Peter S. Wohrle, Newport Beach, Calif.


Complete program information is available through the Academy’s website.

With more than 6,000 members in 70 countries around the world, the Academy of Osseointegration is the world’s leading dental implant organization. Its goal is to advance the field of osseointegrated implants by fostering collaboration between representatives of different dental disciplines — oral surgery, periodontics, prosthodontics, and general practice — through clinical and evidence-based research and education.

Founded in 1985, it provides a focus for the rapidly advancing biotechnology involving the natural bond between bone and certain alloplastic reconstructive materials. In dentistry, the primary application is replacing missing teeth by affixing a titanium implant into the jawbone, then securing an artificial tooth into the implant that will look, feel and function like a natural tooth.

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