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Dental School awarded $4M to advance implant dentistry

by Mark Sullivan

Nobel Biocare AB, of Sweden, the world's largest manufacturer of dental implants, has awarded $4 million to Tufts University School of Dental Medicine to name the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinic and further develop the study of dental implants and prosthetics.

This historic gift, the second largest ever to Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, and the first major gift to support the school's expansion, was announced at a ceremony at the Dental School on Sept. 26.

Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow hailed the partnership, which he said joined "an entrepreneurial university with an entrepreneurial company," and underscored Tufts' commitment to stand at the forefront of clinical training in dentistry.

"This gift strengthens the University and strengthens dentistry," Bacow said. "The patients are the ultimate beneficiary of this gift."

Heliane Canepa, president and chief executive officer of Nobel Biocare, responded enthusiastically when asked why her company had made this investment in Tufts.

"It's the second largest dental school in the United States!" she exclaimed, smiling. "We've worked with Tufts for years. We know the people, and we know their potential. And of course, you go with the best names. They are the front-runner."

Nobel Biocare's generosity enables Tufts to achieve a number of key objectives:

The implant center and oral and maxillofacial operating facilities at the Dental School will be expanded to accommodate current and future demand for implant placement and restoration. Implant dentistry will be further integrated into didactic education and clinical training. An array of continuing education programs will train practicing dentists in the use of dental implant devices and technology. And implant dentistry research will be further integrated into both bench and clinical research endeavors.

"For us, the impact is huge," said Maria Papageorge, DMD, professor and chair of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department. "We can provide more patients with implant dentistry, take care of more patients in shorter time, further educate both our pre-doc and post-doctoral students, and provide continuing education in implant dentistry to our alumni and other dentists."

The Dental School has included implant dentistry in its curriculum for pre-doctoral students since the late 1980s. The school's interdisciplinary clinic, which includes the implant center, trains post-doctoral students in oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics, prosthodontics and implant dentistry.

Meantime, Nobel Biocare has been a longtime benefactor of Tufts.

"We are most grateful for Nobel Biocare's continuing support," said Lonnie Norris, DMD, MPH, dean of the School of Dental Medicine. "This gift will allow an expansion of the clinic and our curriculum to advance the educational and patient care missions of the Dental School.

"The real impact is not only implantology training for our dental students but raising the standard of care for patients served by the thousands of Tufts dentists nationally and internationally," Norris said.