June 27, 2019
The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, through the Office of the Associate Dean for Research, and Ivoclar Vivadent, a leading international dental company with comprehensive product and systems lines, are partnering on a clinical study that began in the summer of 2018 at the College and is expected to last for two years.
The study is a “digital denture” trial, in which the college is evaluating clinicians’ responses to new technology, as well as patient comfort and satisfaction.
“Ivoclar Vivadent is sponsoring this study, and there will be more,” explained Dr. Lyndon Cooper, associate dean for research. “Both Dean Clark Stanford and I have long research relationships with this company. They sought our expertise in evaluating new technologies.”
Dr. George Tysowsky, Senior Vice President of Ivoclar Vivadent agreed. “We’ve had very productive trials with Dr. Stanford and Dr. Cooper in the past, and we saw the UIC College of Dentistry as a center of excellence that could provide us with a quality evaluation and testing of the current proposed products.”
Ivoclar Vivadent provided funding, materials, and technology.
“We’re evaluating a protocol in which dentures are made by a fully digital process,” Cooper explained. “A technician through consultation with a dentist does designs in a three-dimensional environment to form the appropriate devices and final dentures to meet the patient’s functional and esthetic needs.”
The field of digital dentures is changing so rapidly that “even as we were developing the protocol, there have been significant changes to the way we manufacture the dentures and therefore in the types of information we need to collect in the clinic,” he said.
Working in the three-dimensional model, “the arrangements of teeth and the consideration of function offer many sizable advantages over the conventional way of making a denture with wax,” Cooper noted. “Our evaluations suggest that these dentures fit extremely well, are very durable, and meet the patients’ esthetic expectations.”
The researchers have been surprised that patients have been extremely interested in the technology, Cooper said.
“Because our patient population is so diverse, I can envision what we learn from this study on digital denture technology will allow us to provide both very high-end, extremely detailed dentures and very economical dentures,” he added. “Our ability to produce economical dentures will allow us to reach a population who may not presently be able to afford good denture care, so that’s exciting.”
The faculty working on the digital denture study are Dr. Ghadeer Thalji, director of the advanced prosthodontics program Digital Center of Excellence and clinical associate professor; Dr. Fatemeh Afshari, clinical associate professor, restorative dentistry; Stanford, and Cooper.
Also involved in College research with Ivoclar Vivadent are Dr. Ameer Al Baroudi, clinical professor, restorative dentistry; Dr. Andrea Reale Reyes, clinical assistant professor, restorative dentistry, and Dr. Betti Shahin, clinical instructor, restorative dentistry.
“We always run clinical trials to evaluate the clinical behavior and the long-term predictability of the results of these types of materials,” Tysowsky explained. “Evaluating clinical behavior is a critical factor to insure that materials work for patients worldwide.”
The study is being performed in the Clinical Research Center. “It was built with National Institutes of Health funding and includes five state-of-the-science operatories,” Cooper said. “All equipment is new for excellent patient care. In addition, we have a complete cell and molecular biology laboratory to support our scientific pursuits.”
“As a research technology company we value the reputation and the expertise of the college,” Tysowsky said. “We view it as a center of excellence for the ability to teach the technologies, as well as evaluate them, through proper research activities.”
Photo Caption: The UIC College of Dentistry team working on a clinical study with Ivoclar Vivadent includes Dr. Lyndon Cooper, Dr. Andrea Reale Reyes, Dr. Ghadeer Thalji, Dr. Ameer Baroudi, Dean Clark Stanford, and Dr. Betti Shahin.