The UNC Adams School of Dentistry is pioneering a new treatment that might see common use by dentists across the US, including many a Reading dentist; autotransplantation.
Professor Jessica Lee, Chairperson of the Pediatric Dentistry Department, explains that tooth autotransplantation is taking ‘throwaway teeth’, from places they’re not needed in, and then moving them into another spot in the mouth where they might actually be of use.
Lee says that, when a kid looses a tooth via trauma it’s a hit to their physical appearance, as well as their psychological well-being, something that many a Reading dentist is aware of. Implants can help on that front, but putting a fake tooth to take the spot of a missing tooth can lead to its own share of problems, including inflammation, due to the fact that implants are immobile, compared to actual teeth. Oral implant surgeries are common in the US now, but the UNC dentists came into contact with Polish oral surgeon PawelPlakwicz, who told them about autotransplantation.
In Europe, autotransplantation is a common practice, having been around for a few years, with a success rate of 90%, reports pediatric dentist and orthodontist Sonny Long. It’s also common in Canada, with long-term success, with the UNC being the first in the US to actually take up the practice.
Long heard about autotransplantation after a case of a little girl who fell off her horse, losing two front teeth, which doctors treated with autotransplantation; putting a tooth from her lower teeth and moving it in place of one of the lost front teeth, closing the new gap.
Plakwicz, alongside a colleague, EwaCzochrowska, came to the UNC to teach a day-long Continued Education course, discussing the procedure. Two cases came to the UNC, two little girls who were both in need of oral surgery. Long submitted their cases to Czochrowska and Plakwicz, who agreed that they were good candidates for autotransplantation.
Lee notes that they have the video of the operation, where Plakwicz came over to the US to guide one of their surgeons through the autotransplantation procedure, and it was remarkable. Nine months following the procedure, Lee reports that the patient is doing well, and she hopes that this procedure can benefit more kids in the US in the future.