Department of Periodontics and Preventive Dentistry: News


April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month in the U.S., Department Responds to Screening Event Challenge


Periodontics’ clinical interest in confronting the destructive health effects of smokeless tobacco products combines this month with the 13th Oral Cancer Foundation international appeal for medical and dental professionals to promote awareness with local screening events.


Solicited by the periodontics and oral surgery dental student clubs to arrange a second public service project, department chair, Dr. Pouran Famili, integrated her clinical concern for this major public health challenge by suggesting a broad oral cancer screening initiative; timed to coincide with Oral Cancer Awareness Month.


She was not aware that the non-profit, supported by the celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow family fund, was making a special effort to promote oral cancer awareness in 2012. One of the few cancers increasing in the U.S.; the fastest growing number of victims are non-smokers acquiring the malignancy from personal exposure to the HPV-16 virus.

With 37,000 new diagnoses (100/day) in the U.S., survival is 80 percent or better when caught early. Unfortunately, low awareness of risk factors and symptoms result in most oral cancers not being detected until late-stage, when five-year survival dives to 30 percent.


An oral cancer screening is quick, simple, painless, visual, and tactile. Members of the two clubs are being instructed by Dr. Famili in what to look for and how to express results to patients in several advance clinical training sessions. Public screenings will be the third and fourth Saturdays in April at the Birmingham Free Clinic, Ninth Street, Southside, a service of the UPMC Program for Health Care to Underserved Populations and the Salvation Army. Hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., coinciding with the weekly free General Medical Clinic, where care is simultaneously provided in Spanish.  



Periodontics Student Organization Participated in November 5, 2011, Diabetes Expo


Supervised by Dr. Pouran Famili, a team of periodontics residents, hygiene faculty, Maria Wassilchalk, dental hygiene student volunteers, and periodontics dental student club took part in Diabetes Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on November 5.

The teams conducted 115 periodontal screening examinations on both diabetic and non-diabetic individuals visiting the American Diabetes Association event. Our team was four dental hygiene students, six first-year dental students, four perio residents, the two faculty, and one staff administrator.

The periodontal implications of diabetes are well-known to dental professionals. Emerging clinical evidence continues to show that improvement in the periodontal condition by more effective oral health behaviors will lead to progress in the diabetic condition.


2012 Academy of Osseointegration

Residents in periodontics made a strong performance at the Phoenix Academy of Osseointegration March 1-4, presenting six posters of research:


  • Osseointegration with zirconium dioxide ceramics: Case Report: Eyad Al-Khalifa with Dr. Pouran Famili
  • Dental Implant Success in a Dental School Implant Center Setting: research by dental student Rashee Goyal with Dr. Famili
  • Influence of platform diameter on implant survival: Review of the available literature: poster presented by periodontics resident Stephanie Nigro, discussing a research project involving prosthodontics faculty Dr. Arthur Rodriguez
  • Case report of dental implant placement in a liver transplant patient: graduating periodontics resident Omer Akmal, with Dr. Famili
  • Keratinized gingiva around dental implants: literature review: graduating periodontics resident Kurt Wallin, with Dr. Famili
  • Compliance with Dental Implant Maintenance at the University of Pittsburgh: Raha Yousefi and Dr. Famili


Periodontics Research Acknowledged with Implant Foundation Grant Support


Earlier, preliminary research for three of the research projects presented at the AO received student grants for 2012 from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Those were projects conducted by dental student, Rashee Goyal, and perio residents, Raha Yousefi and Eyad al-Khalifa. Updates on those three projects are expected to be presented by those residents at the American Academy of Implant Dentistry meeting in Washington D.C. in October. The American Academy of Implant Dentistry publishes the Journal of Oral Implantology.

In related news, the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine was awarded an International Congress of Oral Implantologists Implant Dentistry Research and Education Foundation grant for 2012. Presented to periodontics professor and chair, Dr. Pouran Famili, to partially fund her current research regarding implant survival in patients dosing with the oral bisphosphonate Reclast,™ official announcement of the grant will be made at the ICOI Spring Symposium in Toronto April 27-29. The Reclast™ research also receives implant device support in the new NobelActive™ product line from manufacturer NobelBiocare. Individuals currently dosing with Reclast™ who might be interested in becoming subjects in the research should contact the study coordinator at 412-648-9997. The ICOI publishes the journal Implant Dentistry.