Drs. Serge Dibart and Leslie Will Receive Align Technology Award

invisalign-200Dr. Serge Dibart, Chair and Professor of the Department of Periodontology and Director of the Advanced Specialty Education Program in Periodontics, and Dr. Leslie Will, Anthony A. Gianelly Chair and Professor of the Department of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics and Director of the Advanced Specialty Education Program in Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics, were recently awarded $25,000 by Align Technology for their research project “Comparison Between Piezocision Assisted Invisalign Treatment and Conventional Invisalign.” The project will investigate the use of piezocision to enhance Invisalign treatment, focusing on how the piezoelectric knife accelerates tooth movement. This study has the potential to drastically shorten the duration of orthodontic treatment plans for adults.

Piezocision is a minimally invasive surgical procedure which Dr. Dibart developed at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. It uses a piezoelectric knife to demineralize the bone selectively around teeth that need to be moved. Invisalign, an orthodontic treatment procedure manufactured by Align Technology, uses dental trays to correct malocclusions. The trays are changed every two weeks until the end of treatment, which presently averages around 13.5 months. Adding piezocision to selected Invisalign treatment will allow the patient to change the trays every week instead of every two weeks, potentially cutting treatment time by half. This drastic reduction in waiting time is a significant attraction for the adult population seeking orthodontic treatment.

“I was presenting my work at an orthodontic conference in Vienna in December 2013 and the director of research for Invisalign heard me. He was very interested,” said Dr. Dibart of his initial encounter with the industry representative. “We talked a while after my lecture and I outlined for him a clinical research project that would combine piezocision and Invisalign treatment.”

This award is part of the annual Align Technology University Research Award Program for Orthodontic Therapy and Intraoral Scanners. Awards are given with the aim of encouraging higher education institutions to conduct research to advance the industry’s understanding of orthodontic treatments. Industry collaborations such as these are an increasingly important source of financial support for research.

Dr. Dibart submitted a second project that proposed the use of an iTero intraoral digital scanner to further develop the first project. This project was also selected for funding by Align Technology. Dr. Dibart is very excited about the significant implications of this project.

“This will allow us to develop new clinical protocols for the optimal use of the Invisalign trays and answer some questions on the rate of tooth movement in piezocision assisted Invisalign treatment,” he said.