Prosthodontics, Research

Leaders Discuss Future of Prosthodontic Research at Symposium

The UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry and the American College of Prosthodontists Education Foundation (ACPEF) co-sponsored a recent symposium at which oral health research leaders discussed the best ways to advance patient-directed prosthodontic discovery.

“The Scope of Prosthodontic Research,” held Jan. 11 and 12, featured 15 presentations by deans, chairs and academic, military and corporate investigators from throughout the United States and Canada. School of Dentistry Dean John N. Williams and Dr. Leonard B. Kobren, vice chairman of the ACPEF’s Board of Advisers, offered welcoming remarks to the more than 60 symposium attendees.

Dr. Leonard Kobren, vice chairman of the ACPEF’s Board of Advisers, welcomed the attendees and presented Dean John N. Williams with a token of appreciation. Kobren’s comments included his appreciation for the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry’s generous support of the symposium.

In terms of prosthodontic research, the symposium’s goals were to assess the specialty’s current scope; create a compelling case for increasing research funding and identify the following: current and emerging priorities, projects with the most immediate and meaningful patient-care implications, and collaborative efforts that would increase success, minimize costs and increase alignment in the specialty.

Presenters discussed strong, successful programmatic concepts and individual activities under way to strengthen prosthodontic research and patient care. One of many insights discussed during the meeting was that all prosthodontists cannot and should not become research scientists, but that every prosthodontist must become familiar with the new key issues and concepts within other medical specialties that influence prosthodontics.

“The participants have indicated their desire to build our research infrastructure and to reinforce prosthodontics’ place in the biomedical academic environment through research activity,” said Dr. Lyndon Cooper, symposium organizer and director of graduate prosthodontics at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Dentistry. “We can do this without sacrificing our commitment to clinical excellence. Every prosthodontist’s contribution to the ACPEF is necessary to achieve the excellence in research necessary to restate the significance of our clinical specialty.”

Open discussions were a highlight of the symposium.

In the closing hours of the symposium, participants discussed the support necessary to ensure a strong and significant next step for enhancing prosthodontic research on a national level. The ACPEF Board of Advisers and the ACP Board of Directors will discuss these and other goals at their February meetings.

“This was a first-ever event, in terms of this type of summit on the future of prosthodontic research, and our School of Dentistry was honored to host this important event,” Williams said. “The discussions were substantive and demonstrated just how powerful collaboration will be in advancing prosthodontic research. What was discussed will become a crucial building block in the advancement of research most responsive to patient needs.”

The symposium culminated with working groups developing strategies that may be implemented by the ACPEF to enhance prosthodontic research success. Dr. Lyndon Cooper, symposium organizer, shares his thoughts with the group.

The ACPEF, created by the ACP in response to demand for research support, has funded prosthodontic-related research since 1985. All of this particular research has been conducted by post-graduate students completing their specialty education. In supporting this prosthodontic-related research, the ACPEF has provided necessary and otherwise unavailable funding for more than 120 projects that have increased the overall understanding of many dental conditions and promising treatment outcomes.

Other symposium sponsors were Astra Tech Inc., 3M ESPE and Ivoclar Vivadent.