Spotlight on Pi Dental Center Research

Posted by Pi Dental Center on May 13, 2014 4:40:00 PM

Dental Research at Pi Dental Center

Research has always been an integral part of Pi Dental Center. Founder, Dr. Thomas Balshi began doing dental research in 1977 and has continued that tradition with his partner, Dr. Glenn Wolfinger, and the Pi Dental Center team. They have written over 100 articles on their research results which have appeared in notable dental journals such as the: Journal of Prosthodontics, The International Journal of Maxillofacial Implants, Compendium, Journal of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery and The Journal of Implant and Advanced Clinical Dentistry. Both Balshi and Wolfinger have also presented their research at dental symposia worldwide.

Researchers at Pi Dental Center have studied implant placement protocols and success rates for All-On-4, Teeth-In-A-Day, No Bone Solution, Guided Implant Treatment, and Single Tooth Implant Treatment. They have evaluated Brånemark Zygomatic and TiUnite Implants. They have investigated patients with special needs and conditions such as congenital dental disorders, diabetes and tooth loss due to trauma. Additionally, they look for ways to optimize patient treatment procedures, laboratory techniques and the effects of treatment on a patient’s psychosocial health.

Two key researchers working closely with Dr. Balshi and Dr. Wolfinger are Stephen Balshi and Dr. Kimberly Boyd. Stephen Balshi, a biomedical engineer, is, in addition to being the CEO of CM Prosthetics, also the Pi Dental Center Director of Research. Dr. Boyd, who joined the "Pi" team in 2013, is Chair and Associate Professor of Biology and Coordinator of First-Year Advising at Cabrini College with a background in physiology.

Pi Dental Center has partnered with Cabrini College to their mutual advantage.  Students provide the dental center with assistance in analytical and other research tasks while the dental center gives students the opportunity to participate in actual ongoing studies. For example, psychology majors trained in social science can conduct statistical analyses, while biology majors can examine the specimens collected from patients in the lab at Cabrini.

Pi Dental Center and Cabrini College have formed a partnership in research. This joint venture has been advantageous to both dental center and school. Pi Dental Center is able to engage Cabrini students in actual ongoing research. Psychology majors trained in social science conduct statistical analysis. Biology majors evaluate samples in the lab at Cabrini.

There are four studies currently underway:

Self-Esteem Study: While significant improvement in oral health and quality of life have been frequently reported, very little current dental literature has focused on the effect dental implants have on a patient's self-esteem.  Over the years, the team and Pi Dental Center has noticed an improvement in patient self-esteem following dental implant treatment.  Impact of TEETH-IN-A-DAY on Psychosocial Well-being is an in-depth look at this change in self-esteem with data collected from day of initial consultation through the completion of treatment. The study covers patients who receive a single implant as well as those who require full-mouth restorations.

Smoking Study: Smoking has a negative impact on overall health, and the association between smoking and declining oral health, tooth loss, periodontal disease, and dental implant failure has been well documented. This study, called, "The Impact of Smoking on Dental Implant Short-term Survival and Long-term Success: Quantifying Smoking Toxin Levels," goes further by examines patients' smoking habits, history and how it impacts dental implant survival in order to determine the specific level of smoking that relates to implant failure.

While, previous smoking studies have relied on questionnaires, Dr. Boyd states,  "This study is unique. We do not rely on questionnaires to determine the level the patient smokes. People do not admit how much they actually smoke. We are measuring the toxins in bone." Bone samples are taken during surgery, which are then analyzed using atomic absorption spectroscopy to determine lead and cadmium levels. These heavy metal toxins found in all types of tobacco products are good measures of long-term toxin accumulation. Saliva is also collected during healing and recovery process and analyzed to determine nicotine levels. This study of the relationship between implant outcomes and measured concentrations of smoking toxins will help to quantify the risk of implant failure in patients who smoke.

All-On-4 Study: The All-On-4 dental implant protocol is a cost-effective treatment approach to non-removable dental restoration. This All-On-4 study explores the suitability of using tilted implants to provide a fixed prosthesis for full arch rehabilitation.  Implant stability and survival will be evaluated.

Impression Technique Report: The goal of the last research project illustrates the accuracy of the impression process during the Teeth In A Day Protocol. A review of all related dental literature is underway.

Following Dr. Boyd's first visit, she commented, "Pi Dental Center was so engaged in research. It was very impressive."

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In the Photo: Viewpoint operatory where general ansesthesia can be provided and surgery filmed, Kimberly L. Boyd, Ph.D. collects data, Hillierie and Shirley, Pi Staff, update records in research database, Stephen Balshi, MBE evaluates prosthesis. 


By Chris Raines
Web Site Administrator
Pi Dental Center

Tags: dental research, dental implant research, dental implants and smoking, patient self esteem study, Pi Dental Center research

A New Smile in Just One Day? YES

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Sep 14, 2012 2:23:00 PM

A new smile in just one day!

Look for us in the October Issue of Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Women’s Day.

Meet the doctors who developed the revolutionary methods to make it happen.

The staff at world-renowned Prosthodontics Intermedica (or “Pi”) knows that a new, permanent smile is life changing -- and they offer it in just one day.

“We developed Teeth In A Day® 20 years ago and have been training doctors to offer it around the world ever since,” says Dr. Glenn Wolfinger, who pioneered the dental implant protocol with Dr. Thomas Balshi.

How it works: after a thorough examination and customized treatment plan, doctors remove diseased teeth and place anchors into the jawbone. A sophisticated laboratory team prepares temporary, non-removable teeth so that patients leave with a sturdy, natural-looking smile. Once the implants have fused to the natural bone, the permanent prostheses are positioned.

No Bone Solution™

Dental implants are vastly superior to dentures-aesthetically and functionally.

“In many cases, the constant rubbing of dentures causes the jawbone to retreat, requiring comprehensive preparation prior to placing implants,” explains Dr. Balshi. The customary answer is bone grafting, a risky, invasive process. Pi offers a better option.As seen in Redbook, Good Housekeeping and Women's Day

“The No Bone Solution™ is a zygomatic implant that combines computer-guided surgery with fixed prosthodontic rehabilitation,” says Dr. Balshi.

An advanced CT scanner gathers radiographic information in just seconds. “By recreating the patient’s skull virtually, we can guide the exact positioning of the implants,” says Dr. Wolfinger. “This approach is avant-garde, blending industry technology with dental medicine.”

The benefits are enormous,” adds Dr. Balshi. “It is drastically faster with less risk of infection. Pi is among only a few centers nationwide with this technology.”

The combination of No Bone Solution™ and Teeth In A Day® yields immediately functional teeth in a single procedure.

Treating the Whole Person

An exceptional experience begins the moment patients walk in: “We’ve created a welcoming ‘oasis’ to make patients feel comfortable. We want them to know we really care about them,” says Joanne Balshi, director of public relations.

Concludes Dr. James Bowers: “We love seeing patients leave with restored teeth and self-esteem.”

Hope for a Healthy Future

The effects of anorexia and bulimia nervosa are detrimental to teeth, and Pi Dental Center is passionate about helping these patients heal-physically and emotionally.

“Giving these patients a healthy mouth restores their ability to chew properly and gives them confidence,” says Dr. Balshi. “It jumpstarts the road to recovery.”

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Tags: No Bone Solution, new smile, smile makeover, Brånemark dental implants, patient self esteem study

Sparkling Smiles Are Giant Steps Toward Eating Disorder Recovery

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Sep 14, 2012 2:20:00 PM

Patient photoThe Pi Dental Center in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania has made giant steps in helping eating disorder patients find their way to the path of recovery.  Philosophically uncharacteristic of the dental profession at large, the Pi doctors and staff have immersed themselves in understanding the multi-dimensional aspects of these health issues, and have taken the solid position that quality dentistry and precision esthetics jumpstart the recovery process. 

For years, the dental profession has held a very reserved perspective in applying restorative care to patients with worn away and infected dentitions, requiring patients to show evidence of remission before embarking on major dental reconstruction.  At the Pi Center, board certified prosthodontists believe that the core issues of eating disorders, lack of confidence and lack of empowerment, are significantly eradicated by the introduction of a healthy mouth and a winning smile.  The dramatic change brought by this sudden life enhancement produces such abundant self-confidence and positive energy that it often unlocks the door to recovery. The Pi approach is not to withhold or delay any measure that contributes to the rebuilding of a broken spirit. 

At the Pi Center, ongoing studies of our many treated eating disorder patients clearly indicate that our philosophy generates consistent positive outcomes.  Some patients come to us on the threshold of physical and emotional disaster, holding out the singular hope that a new image in the mirror can actually save their lives. Others come unaware of the value embedded in a new smile, but find themselves newly equipped with functioning tools to begin the recovery process.

At the present time, virtually every eating disorder patient in the Pi Dental Center practice has achieved success, not only dentally from a functional and cosmetic standpoint, but also in revamping eating habits to either reduce or eliminate dysfunction.  We welcome new patients who suffer from the difficult dental symptoms of eating disorders.  We are committed to patient privacy as well as to offering experienced compassion for victims of this difficult disease.

Learn more about dental care at Pi Dental Center.

Eating Disorder Support Group

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Tags: smile makeover, eating disorder awareness and teeth, restorative dentistry, patient self esteem study

A Tale Of Two Smiles: Or Wisdom Vs. Wheels

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Mar 20, 2012 2:37:00 PM

A Smile Decision

A few years back, a dapper new retiree from a flourishing company wanted to celebrate his retirement with a treat to himself.  He knew his smile was not his best feature and that it actually distracted from his appearance.  He visited the Pi Dental Center and had a comprehensive treatment plan designed to give him a sparkling, healthy smile that was sure to take a dozen years off his face and carry him through for the rest of his life.  Let’s call him Ed.  Ed was not able to value orient the worth of a confident smile, so instead of dental treatment, he opted to purchase a new BMW.  For several months, he was well noticed for his flashy car.

Today, the car no longer turns any heads and is worth but a fraction of what he paid for it.  His teeth have gotten grayer, his face has aged, the money is spent and there is little left to show for it.

The same year, an actively practicing physician and university educator, regretted the grumpy look he had on his face in his daughter’s wedding album.  He was hiding a twisted and discolored lack of a smile.  On the verge of buying a new Porsche, he quickly switched gears and decided to invest in himself instead.  Let’s call him Joe.

Joe visited the Pi Dental Center and experienced Teeth in a Day™ His instant new handsome appearance infused him with a deep pleasure every time he had reason to see himself in a mirror.  It built self-confidence; it built energy; it made him feel he had transferred his wealth to the right place.  Today his engaging smile makes everyone around him feel the glow.  The smile will never depreciate.  Joe hopes to buy his Porsche in a few more years, but if it never happens, he believes his smile was the secret to mid-life crisis and a dream he wished he had grasped sooner.

Who made the best life decision, Ed or Jo?

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Tags: smile makeover, patient self esteem study, dental treatment planning