U of M Dental Students Give Implants to Winnipeg’s Homeless

University of Manitoba dental students give dental implants to Winnipeg homeless people

Winnipeg, MB (January 12, 2012) — The University of Manitoba officially launched the Niznick Overdenture Program today, which will provide dentistry students the unique opportunity to pioneer a new dental implant technology and program while they install new teeth in the mouths of 35 homeless people.

The Faculty of Dentistry has partnered with Siloam Mission’s health centre to offer complete dental implants to 35 patients of Siloam’s dental clinic.

The implants would usually cost upwards of $10,000 per patient but in September of last year Dr. Gerald Niznick [DMD/66] donated $500,000 to the Faculty of Dentistry to develop and launch this novel denture program to demonstrate how modern, standardized and affordable dental implant procedures can be part of conventional dental therapy available to all. His donation was the largest gift ever received by the U of M’s Faculty of Dentistry.

The first 13 patients began the 12-week procedure at the University of Manitoba Dental Clinic on Bannatyne Ave this afternoon.

Until July 31st, final-year students, along with their instructors, will work with the patients every Thursday to install the state-of-the-art implants, which can include bone grafting to insert the titanium root device.

Siloam Mission’s dental clinic has been offering basic dental care for Winnipeg’s less fortunate for years – including full teeth extractions and new dentures – but could never afford these kind of high-tech implants.

“There are few things worse than broken, rotting or missing teeth,” says Floyd Perras, executive director of Siloam Mission. “Bad teeth lower your self-esteem, get in the way of eating properly, affect your speech and hurt your chances of getting a job. All of those things are detrimental to feeling good about yourself and discourage you from moving forward in your life. Bad teeth rob your sense of self-worth. That’s why we’re thankful beyond words for this opportunity.”

The University program is also pioneering new technology that may revolutionize the field by making implants more accessible to the Canadian public.

“These innovative implants reduce the cost of treatment, making implant-retained overdentures affordable to a greater segment of the population,” said Dr. Igor Pesun, Associate Professor and head of the program.

Winnipeg dentist May-Ting Yee and hygienist Louise Zimmer volunteered hours of their time at Siloam Mission assessing ideal candidates and preparing them for the procedure. That included pulling an average of five rotten teeth per patient.

For more information contact Sean Moore, Marketing Communications Office, University of Manitoba, 204-474-7963 (sean_moore@umanitoba.ca).