This month marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine’s Advanced Education Program in Periodontics. Since its inception, the program has produced more than 70 highly educated and clinically competent periodontists proficient in the diagnosis and treatment of the various forms of periodontal disease.
The dental specialty of periodontology is particularly relevant, with periodontal diseases affecting nearly half of the United States population over the age of 30 and more than 70 percent of those over age 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most serious form of periodontal disease, periodontitis, can cause gum recession and swelling, loose teeth or tooth loss, with experienced clinicians required in the provision of treatment.
The School of Dental Medicine’s program excels in its training, emphasizing skill development in implantology, oral and periodontal plastic surgery, oral reconstructive surgery, parenteral intravenous moderate sedation, and periodontal medicine. The graduates of the program boast cumulative averages of more than 90 percent in national examinations and hold a 100 percent success rate in oral examinations required to be certified by the American Board of Periodontology in Periodontology and Implant Surgery.
Dr. Vincent Iacono, chair of the Department of Periodontology, is the program founder and previous program director (1991-2018). A nationally recognized leader in periodontology research and education, Dr. Iacono has consistently ensured the program’s success and growth over the past three decades. Importantly, he represents commitment to the field, having published more than 100 papers, abstracts and textbook chapters, and has been actively involved in the governance of numerous regional, national, and international professional organizations.
Furthermore, Dr. Iacono has received the Outstanding Periodontal Educator Award from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). Following suit, all program leadership encourages involvement within professional organizations and academia. As evidence, featured within its ranks of alumni are Dr. Wayne Aldredge, past-president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP).
All program participants are provided the option to attain doctoral and master’s degrees, with most completing studies in the areas of periodontal regeneration and identifying new technological advancement opportunities. Notably, Dr. Julio Carrion, an alumnus and previous faculty member within the program, received a PhD 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 is already accruing accolades within academia, including receipt of the AAP’s Teaching Fellowship and funding from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry Foundation for the development of scaffold technology in support of the regeneration of bone tissue.
Research within the Department, and therefore extending to the program, is robust and has led to innovation within oral healthcare and beyond. As an example, Dr. Iacono’s development of an innovative perforated barrier membrane for regeneration has become widespread in its use.
Additionally, the research of Dr. Srinivas Myneni, director of Periodontal Research, explores new regenerative and stem cell technologies and clinical application of new scaffolds. His work has been backed 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 into the immediate loading of dental implants, laser dentistry, peri-implantitis therapy, bone regeneration and wound healing.
The 30th anniversary class of the Advanced Dental Education Program includes students 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 senior staff assistant in support of the program following the recent retirement of Patricia Gentile.