By Dr. Eduardo Prado
As a dental professional for the past 30 years, I have had the privilege of helping thousands of people lead happier and healthier lives. I have seen first-hand the restorative power of a healthy mouth and am continually amazed by the boost of confidence people feel when a little cosmetic turns a gap-toothed alignment of teeth into a radiant smile.
Over my career, I have been had the opportunity to watch the industry evolve and I work very hard to stay at the cutting-edge when it comes to technology, marketing and customer satisfaction. I have watched “dental innovations” come and go as quickly as dance crazes, but I believe a new technology developed by healthcare startup Stemmed Implant Technology of Niagara Falls and Nevada, has the potential to revolutionize implant dentistry.
After graduation from University of Texas, I taught at while at University of Alabama before opening a successful practice in Palm Beach Florida. I became interested in dental implants and began looking for the best ways to implant teeth so that there was less stress for the patient and a greater guarantee of success for the dentist.
Off to Niagara Falls
Several years ago my search took me to the office of Dr. Michael Lococo of Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada. Like myself, Dr. Lococo was unhappy with the dental implant technology that had been around for years with no significant changes. He was so unhappy, he rethought the entire process and patented an entirely new approach. And like so many times when you see a great idea, I wondered aloud “that’s so logical, why hasn’t someone already thought of that.”
Dr. Lococo’s approach to implant technology and procedures simplifies many of the challenges that confound current implant technology. His barb lock, screwless design is stronger than all the current technology and is accepted into the jaw in a way that accelerates healing.
As I thought about the process, and reviewed the initial research carried out by Stemmed Implant Technology, the company formed to take the process and unique devices, the implications for dentist and patients became clear. Instead of the 13 -14 patient visits required by the existing technology, a stemmed implants system meant just two or three visits: With less pain, fewer potential adjustments, a faster healing time, and less of a time commitment, previously reluctant patients would be lining up for procedure: for dentists the more efficient process would mean significantly more time available for the dentist to see other patients or play golf.
Does it Make Sense Financially?
But what about cost? Too often the cost of technology advances outweigh the benefits that they offer. That is not the case when I did the math with Stemmed Implants.
According to professional sources the average dental implant in the US costs about $4250. The actual piece implanted is about $250, so the professional time is approximately $4000 for the 14 visits or about $300 per visit. Using the Stemmed Implant device, and a three visit standard, the total procedure can be done for $ 1200, which could allow the dentist to make over $1000 per visit. The laws of economics will undoubtedly kick-in and result in a different ratio, but at the end of the day the dentist will make more and the consumer will pay significantly less. And it will all have been done more quickly and with less pain.
Many years ago, with the support of my colleagues, friends and family, I opened a practice with an international client focus in Guatemala. The goal was to provide the world’s highest quality dental implant work at prices clients can afford.
International Dentistry: A Technology Opportunity
Running an international dental practice gives me the freedom to access tomorrow’s technology today. Unlike dental professionals in the United States and Europe that have their practice methods restricted to technology approved by the FDA and European health standard monitoring agencies, I have the freedom to choose the technology and methodologies that I believe will be the most effective and deliver the greatest value for my clients.
It is an obligation I take seriously, which is why I spend so much time researching the best treatment options. It’s also why I agreed to be part of a Stemmed Implant clinical trial set to begin shortly.
Since my visit with Dr. Lococo I have followed the development of Stemmed Implant Technology. I have support the positive analysis by Dr. Gordon J. Christensen and I have reviewed the results from the preliminary research carried out at University of Toronto, McMaster University. I am also impressed with the innovative 3-D manufacturing approach undertaken at Mohawk College. As far as I can tell, this is the first time this kind of additive manufacturing has been used in the dental industry - and it’s about time.
Part of the Clinical Trial
I am excited to be assisting in with clinical trial in Guatemala that will demonstrate the effectiveness of their Stemmed Implant design and provide some of the evidence required by the FDA and others to licence the system for use in North America and Europe. I look forward to working with study administrator Dr. Geza Terezhalmy and his team from University of Texas (San Antonio), and the US Naval Research Station(Bethesda Maryland) to carry out the full clinical trial. Dr. Geza has an extremely impressive resume, research record and is world respected for his clinical trial work.
I am privileged and honored to be the dental surgeon to perform the implants on the test patients and monitor their progress. Look for more of my updates as the trials move forward.
Dr. Eduardo Prado