Do you work with dental implants? There’s an app for that. Three researchers at the University of California Los Angeles School of Dentistry (UCLA Dentistry) have received a $50,000 National Science Foundation Innovation Corps grant for a software application they developed that helps dental students and postgraduate residents in the treatment planning of their dental implant cases.
Known as mplant, the software answers the most frequent and fundamental questions related to implants, such as the type, dimensions, preparatory surgeries (bone and soft tissue grafting), and prosthetic considerations. The team developed an algorithm that provides a treatment recommendation before a question has even been asked. Clinical photos and illustrations accompany the treatment plan to help guide students and residents through the process.
“There are about 6 million dental implant procedures being performed every year in the United States alone. And even though implant dentistry has become a very successful specialty, still a lot of complications are being encountered. Mplant is a platform that takes this research and information gathered over the last 30 years and puts it in a user-friendly tool for the general practitioner,” said Joan Pi-Anfruns, DMD, principal investigator on the project.
The main goal of mplant is to provide a tool for users to better diagnose and improve treatment planning and execution of dental implant cases for the benefit of patients. Its secondary goal is to streamline treatment planning, from reducing paperwork to making documentation more efficient and accessible. The recommendations made through mplant will be evidence-based and periodically updated according to the most pertinent literature.
“The mplant app will assist the practitioner to develop the best possible treatment outcomes for their patients,” said Kumar Shah, BDS, MS, proposal principal investigator and co-inventor of the technology.
“It’s not just about the anatomy. It’s not just about the oral habits. It’s not just about the compliance of the patient. Mplant considers all these factors and assesses them and gives a proposed treatment plan for the practitioner to deliver a high standard of care with less complications and more confidence in what he is doing,” said Rami Beshai, BDS, DDS, entrepreneurial lead for the project.
The software additionally placed first in the research track at the Code for the Mission competition, an annual app contest organized by the Office of Information Technology at UCLA. The competition came with a $5,000 prize.