Awards, Operative Dentistry, Research

Award Puts a Spotlight on Operative Dentistry

A woman and three men standing by a table display.
UNC Adams School of Dentistry's operative dentistry residents with director of the Operative Dentistry Predoctoral Program, Bert Vasconcellos, DDS, MS, PhD.

With a focus on longevity, one resident researcher is making inroads into digital dentistry and restoration work, using scanning technology to advance the process and its impact on patients.

A man with arms crossed in a suit jacket

Leandro Passos Soares, DDS, MS, PhD, an operative dentistry resident, was awarded the 2023 Ralph Phillips Student Research Award, a prestigious award sponsored by the Academy of Operative Dentistry.

Leandro Passos Soares, DDS, MS, PhD, a graduate operative dentistry resident, was recently awarded the 2023 Ralph Phillips Student Research Award, a prestigious award sponsored by the Academy of Operative Dentistry, for his thesis project titled “The influence of the cut-out-rescan and data exchange by over-scanning techniques on the marginal fit of CAD/CAM crowns.” This work evaluates whether the editing procedures when using intraoral scanners to take images of the mouth and teeth will influence the result of the adaptation of restorations constructed virtually through these images. Soares said the outcomes provided by the data could lead to more effective and longer lasting treatments for patients.

“In many clinical settings, dentists perform scan edits due to the inherent need for better data capture in some parts of the scan. The accuracy of such files has been measured, but the final restorative result must be checked to verify the influence of this type of procedure,” Soares said.

Advancements in the field

Soares’ adviser, Bert Vasconcellos, DDS, MS, PhD, said the work Soares is doing in digital dentistry is vital to moving the field forward.

“Digital Dentistry has gained widespread popularity among clinicians due to its convenience and versatility, and there is no turning back. Regardless, it is crucial that clinical procedures performed digitally are supported by solid scientific evidence,” Vasconcellos said.

Soares has been interested in this topic since 2019, working on editing techniques for virtual models instead of cutting. His new research builds on that work and will involve a study and presentation at the 2024 Academy of Operative Dentistry meeting, funded as part of the award.

“The intention is to verify whether such additions and modifications will influence the marginal adaptation of restorations,” Soares said. “As soon as the data from this work are obtained and interpreted, they will affect the direction and extent of editing scans in other dental arch sectors to be researched.”

Setting the bar high

“This is a fantastic achievement, not only for Leandro but also for our graduate program,” Vasconcellos said. “Leandro is among the most hard-working and outstanding graduate students I have ever mentored. He was my DDS student and mentee in several research projects before becoming an accomplished Associate Professor at the Fluminense Federal University in Brazil. He is also very knowledgeable on CAD/CAM systems, providing him with the ideal skills and background to successfully carry out his thesis project in our graduate program in Operative and Biomaterials.”

The Ralph Phillips Student Research Award is sponsored by the Academy of Operative Dentistry and is one of the most competitive awards in the field of Operative Dentistry. Phillips was a world-renowned researcher and lecturer in the field of dental materials, also known for the internationally respected textbook, “Phillips’ Science of Dental Materials,” which is still in use in dental schools across the U.S. and all over the world. Soares is the second ASOD operative resident to receive this competitive award.