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Ramfjord Symposium Highlights Advances in Periodontics

“There was a significant amount of useful information, clinical insights, and research discoveries that speakers presented at the Ramfjord Symposium that, I think, will be helpful to dentists, periodontists and dental hygienists today and well into the future,” said Dr. William Giannobile as he discussed the three-day program recently held on the University of Michigan campus.

Giannobile, chair of the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, and Dr. Hom-Lay Wang, director of the graduate periodontics program at the U-M School of Dentistry, chaired the three-day event that drew about 350 persons from around the world, including Canada, Europe, and Asia.  The program included a one-day presymposium with more than 40 poster presentations and the two-day Symposium which honored the memory of Dr. Sigurd Ramfjord and his contributions to periodontics.

Internationally-renowned clinicians and researchers spoke about long-term periodontal care and scientifically-based research that focused on periodontitis and periodontal implants.  They included Dr. Niklaus Lang, professor emeritus, University of Bern, Switzerland, and U-M alumnus (MS, periodontics, 1975); Dr. Giulio Rasperini, professor of periodontology at the University of Milan, Italy; Dr. Stephen Chu, associate professor of prosthodontics at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine; Dr. Pamela McClain, American Academy of Periodontology and private practitioner, Aurora, Colorado; Dr. George Romanos, professor of Clinical Dentistry at Stony Brook, New York; and Dr. Lyndon Cooper, professor and chair of the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry’s Department of Prosthodontics.

Replacing Teeth with Implants

Giannobile said it’s not uncommon for patients to have diseased teeth replaced with implants. 

Implants have been shown to be an important innovation for tooth replacements.  However, installing implants in a patient’s jaw can sometimes lead to biologic complications such as inflammation and infection.  “In effect, one set of problems is being replaced with another set of problems, which the speakers discussed in detail, providing general dentists, periodontists, oral surgeons and prosthodontists with valuable insights and ideas to consider in their own practice,” he said.

The use of dental lasers to halt the progression of infection and inflammation was discussed, as were opportunities for bone regeneration and tissue implants that could help patients, in terms of their ability to chew and cosmetics.  “All of these areas are important,” Giannobile said, “because we know that patients are very concerned about function and aesthetics once their natural teeth are replaced with implants.”

Ramfjord, who earned a master’s degree and PhD from the University of Michigan in 1948 and 1951, respectively, was internationally recognized as a leader in periodontics and chaired the School’s Department of Periodontics from 1963 to 1980.  He was in the first class of individuals posthumously inducted into the School’s Hall of Honor in 2003 for his many contributions, including the first dental investigator to conduct long term studies on the effectiveness of various periodontal treatment procedures, organizing the first World Workshop on Periodontics (1966) which led to establishing scientific goals for periodontology and to the first serious clinical research in the field.

2016 Symposium

The next Ramfjord Symposium recognizing his legacy will be June 2-4, 2016, coinciding with the 70-year anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.


Posted September 15, 2014