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March 2018
Volume 39, Issue 3

Enhancing Esthetic Outcomes Through Periodontal Plastic Surgery

Peter Nordland, DMD, MS; P.D. Miller, DDS; and Robert A. Levine, DDS

As medical professionals know full well, plastic surgery is not always just for looks. Physical health benefits can also accompany such procedures. Periodontal plastic surgery is a popular option for patients looking to improve their smile, yet it is also an important means of treating such anomalies as gingival recession and root exposure, "gummy" smile, and atrophy in the gums and jawbone after tooth loss. In short, to maximize esthetic restorative potential, the gingival tissue and bone surrounding a dental restoration must be sufficient.

Some 30 years ago, the concept of a plastic surgery study club first came about at the American Academy of Periodontology's annual meeting in 1987. At that time, P.D. Miller's classification of marginal concept of periodontal plastic surgery was new, and a group of talented and inquisitive clinicians decided to form a club to delve further into the realm of oral plastic surgery. Initially, the study club was limited to 20 clinicians who would give presentations on various aspects of mucogingival surgery. In addition to present authors Drs. Nordland and Miller, some of the early participants were such renowned leaders in periodontics as Drs. Jay Siebert, Gary Maynard, Pat Allen, Herman Corn, Jim Mellonig, Ron Nevins, Burt Langer, Bob Shallhorn, and Randy Harris.

Over the years, the interest and focus of the group expanded as international dentists and educators expressed interest in joining. Dr. Yoshihiro Ono from Japan joined the group, bringing with him a contingent of Japanese dentists to the organization's annual meeting. Dr. Peter Raetzke from Germany, who published on the subepithelial connective tissue graft, became an active participant. Before long, what had been known as the periodontal plastic surgery study club became theInternational Society of Periodontal Plastic Surgeons (ISPPS), and membership was opened to surgeons interested in periodontal plastic surgery.

Under the present authors' leadership, ISPPS is currently comprised of dental specialists throughout the world, most of whom are full-time clinicians and educators. The society meets annually the day before the AAP annual meeting to present new, innovative and, up until now (see sidebar), often unpublished material and techniques or modifications/refinements to existing techniques in the field of periodontal plastic and reconstructive surgery, aimed at improving overall esthetics to the benefit of patients long-term. Lively and stimulating, these presentations are limited to 15 minutes, with 5 to 10 minutes for discussion, a format that has proved to be very popular because it allows many ideas to be presented in a brief period. The group's passion is to disseminate this information while mentoring younger members of the organization.

ISPPS welcomes new members who have an interest in periodontal plastic surgery. In addition, students in periodontal residency programs are encouraged to attend the annual meeting, which will be held this year on October 26 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Fellowship in the ISPPS is attained after presenting to the group at five meetings.

With new technology come new surgical treatments that are achievable and predictable. Working with the restorative dentist, the periodontal plastic surgeon can enhance treatment, with the patient being the ultimate beneficiary.

AEGIS Dental Network has formed a strategic initiative between the International Society of Periodontal Plastic Surgeons (ISPPS) and Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry. This initiative's efforts will include publication of a special supplemental issue of Compendium that will be comprised of advanced periodontal and surgical content highlighting the proceedings of the ISPPS 2017 Annual Meeting, as well as various updated, landmark presentations from past meetings. Look for this supplement and other related content in Compendium in the coming months.

About the Authors

Peter Nordland,  DMD, MS

Fellow and President, International Society of Periodontal Plastic Surgeons (ISPPS); Assistant Professor of Periodontics, Loma Linda University
School of Dentistry, Loma Linda, California

P.D. Miller, DDS

Fellow, International Society of Periodontal PlasticSurgeons (ISPPS); Clinical Professor, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina

Robert A. Levine, DDS

Fellow, International Society of Periodontal Plastic Surgeons (ISPPS); Clinical Professor in Periodontics & Implantology, Kornberg School of Dentistry,  Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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