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News / March 14, 2011

Protein may improve dental implant success

by Guy Hiscott

Using a bone-creating protein to augment the maxillary sinus could improve dental implant success.

That’s according to experts at Georgia Health Sciences University.

Dental implants won’t work if the bone in which they are anchored is too thin – and bone thinning is a common cause and consequence following tooth loss.

The current favoured solution is to supplement the area with bone grafts to stabilise the implant base.

But that technique is problematic ‘primarily because it involves additional surgeries to harvest the bone’ explains Dr Ulf M E Wikesjö, interim associate dean for research and enterprise in the GHSU College of Dental Medicine.

In animal studies, he and his team, at the GHSU laboratory for applied periodontal & craniofacial regeneration, found that by implanting the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) in the sinus, more new bone will form within four weeks than using conventional bone grafting at the same site.

Dr Wikesjö says: ‘We found that BMP-induced superior bone quality over that following bone grafts, which improves the chances for successful implants.

‘BMP is phenomenal, because it’s a true, off-the-shelf product with ease of use that can produce real results, and it could be the new gold standard for this procedure.’

According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 69% of adults, ages 35-44, have lost at least one tooth due to decay, disease or trauma, and 26% of adults have lost all permanent teeth by age 74.


The findings of his team’s pilot study were presented March 4 at the Academy of Osseointegration annual meeting in Washington, D C Wikesjö’s GHSU co-investigators include Drs. Jaebum Lee, Cristiano Susin, Nancy Rodriguez and Jamie de Stefano.