This month marks the 30 anniversary of the founding of the Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine’s Higher education program in periodontics. Since its inception, the program has trained over 70 highly qualified and clinically competent periodontists skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of various forms of periodontal disease.
The dental specialty of periodontology is particularly relevant, with periodontal disease affecting nearly half of the United States population over the age of 30 and over 70% of people over the age of 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most serious form of periodontal disease, periodontitis, can cause recession and swelling of the gums, loose teeth, or tooth loss, with experienced clinicians needed to provide treatment.
The School of DentistryThe program excels in its training, emphasizing the development of skills in implantology, oral and periodontal plastic surgery, oral reconstructive surgery, moderate intravenous parenteral sedation, and periodontal medicine. Graduates of the program have cumulative averages of over 90 percent on national exams and hold a 100 percent pass rate on oral exams required to be certified by the American Board of Periodontology in Periodontology and Implant Surgery.
Dr Vincent Iacono, president of the Department of Periodontology, is the founder of the program and the former director of the program (1991-2018). A nationally recognized leader in periodontal research and education, Dr. Iacono has consistently driven the success and growth of the program over the past three decades. Above all, he represents the commitment in the field, having published more than 100 articles, abstracts and chapters of manuals, and has been actively involved in the governance of many regional, national and international professional organizations.
In addition, Dr. Iacono received the Outstanding Periodontal Educator Award from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). At the same time, any program director encourages participation in professional and university organizations. As proof, Dr. Wayne Aldredge, former president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) is among its ranks of alumni.
All program participants have the opportunity to earn a PhD and Masters degree, with most completing studies in the areas of periodontal regeneration and identifying new opportunities for technological advancement. Notably, Dr. Julio Carrion, alumnus and former faculty member of the program, earned a doctorate for his research on the potential roles of pathogenic periodontal bacteria in cardiovascular disease.
Dr Hossein Bassir has been the program director since 2019. Dr Bassir already has accolades in academia, including receiving the AAP teaching scholarship and funding from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry Foundation for the development of scaffolding technology to support the regeneration of bone tissue.
Research within the department, and therefore extending to the program, is solid and has led to innovation in the field of oral health and beyond. For example, the development by Dr. Iacono of an innovative perforated barrier membrane for regeneration has become widespread in its use.
In addition, the research of Dr. Srinivas Myneni, Director of Periodontal Research, explores new regeneration and stem cell technologies and the clinical application of novel scaffolds. His work was supported by the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Other areas of research include Dr Georgios Romanos‘studies on immediate loading of dental implants, laser dentistry, treatment of peri-implantitis, bone regeneration and wound healing.
The 30 Anniversary class of the Advanced Dental Education program includes Drs. Loredana Calce, John L. Smith, and Zaineb Aslam. Current faculty members include Drs. John A. Diana, Kathleen Frost, Vincent Iacono, Brandon Katz, Gary Kitzis, Srinivas Myneni, Alex G. Pappas, Georgios Romanos, John A. Rose, Caroline Rubino and Steven M. Zove. Denise Campos serves as the Senior Staff Assistant in support of the program following the recent retirement of Patricia Gentile.