Dr. Feine’s contributions to implant dentistry include research that indicated a minimal number of dental implants could improve bite function and quality of life for denture wearers; this led to broader acceptance of using implant-supported dentures. Dr. Feine was recently honored by the American Dental Association (ADA) for her influential efforts.
The Feine Art of Dental Implants
Dr. Feine is the 2016 recipient of the ADA’s Norton M. Ross Award, which is given to researchers whose work has advanced some aspect of clinical dentistry. Ross was a dentist and pharmacologist who dedicated most of his career to oral health research.
An ADA article about Dr. Feine refers to her as a “dental implant research pioneer,” and a colleague calls her one of the “world’s leading experts in the field of dental implants.” Though Dr. Feine was not involved in the development of dental implants, her studies into their use are significant for their patient-centered focus and multifaceted approach to treatment.
Dr. Feine was among the first to understand that missing teeth alone did not mean a patient was an ideal candidate for dental implants. She encouraged dentists to consider existing oral health conditions, economic considerations, multiple diagnostic methods, and a patient’s individual needs and desires as they related to missing teeth (and, specifically, which teeth were missing). Her work revealed that implant-supported dentures are often an effective alternative to dental implants, and proved more comfortable and more functional than traditional dentures alone. Just two dental implants can make a huge difference for many denture wearers.
From TMJ to Dental Implants
Dr. Feine’s efforts also enhanced our understanding of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), a common condition that often results in jaw pain, impaired jaw movement and recurring headaches. In fact, it was a desire to better comprehend TMJ that led Dr. Feine to pursue clinical research in the early 1980s.
At the time, the causes and long-term effects of TMJ were not well understood. Some patients responded well to conventional TMJ treatments while others continued to suffer painful symptoms. Dr. Feine traveled widely to study the condition, and even returned to school to earn a master’s degree in neurophysiology.
Today, some dentists pursue continuing education neuromuscular dentistry, which emphasizes the working relationships between the joints, muscles, nerves and other components that connect the jaw to the skull, and facilitate jaw function. Dr. Feine’s work paved the way for a more thorough approach to diagnosing and treating TMJ, and it guided her renowned research into dental implants, all of which has had the effect of improving patient care.
The Columbia, SC, dentists at Smile Columbia Dentistry have extensive experience restoring beautiful smiles and improving bite function with dental implants and Fountain of Youth™ Dentures. We have also helped many patients find lasting relief from TMJ discomfort. To learn more about our services, or to schedule your appointment, please call us at (803) 791-9090.