Instruments Developed By UB Dental Researchers Measure Bone Regeneration, Eliminate Additional Surgery

By Mary Beth Spina

Release Date: March 21, 1994 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Bone regeneration after periodontal surgery can be accurately assessed without additional surgery by using X-rays and two instruments developed by University at Buffalo dental researchers.

Presenting results of research on the new measuring devices recently at the general meeting of the International Association for Dental Research in Seattle, Othman Shibley, D.D.S., reported that the hand-held instruments can be used at the time the periodontal surgery is performed and following complete healing six months to a year later.

Shibley, UB clinical assistant professor of periodontics, said it is important to assess bone density through volume at the time of surgery and afterward to determine if the surgery was successful in removing bacteria and unhealthy tissue.

X-rays alone do not provide an accurate assessment of the volume of bone density achieved over time. But combined with X-rays, which provide a measurement of width, the new devices add measurements of height and depth, providing three-dimensional figures. When multiplied, these figures provide a measurement of the volume of bone density.

Techniques currently in use require additional surgery to assess the amount of bone regeneration by measuring bone density volume.

The first instrument designed by the UB researchers has an angle of l.5 mm at the tip to catch under the roof of the furcation -- the space between the roots of a multi-rooted tooth such as a molar that is filled with bone if not eroded by gum disease. This probe measures from the roof to the free gingival margin.

The second probe, which is curved horizontally with l mm increments, measures the horizontal distance of the furcation.

In a study to determine the effectiveness of the new measuring method, measurements of bone density were taken from 11 patients before their gum surgery using the combination of X-rays and new probes, and again at the time of their gum surgery using a standard technique.

There was no significant difference in the measurements of bone-density volume.

Since the new method involves no surgery, it can be used periodically to measure regeneration safely, accurately and economically.

The calibrated, UB-designed devices can be easily and thoroughly sterilized and included on an instrument tray.

Other members of the UB research team are Sebastian G. Ciancio, D.D.S., professor of periodontics, and Sawsan Tabbaa, D.D.S., research assistant.