In our cover story, Dr. Simon Oh shares his observations on Ditron Dental implants and the motivation behind his dental career.
An interview with Simon Oh — DDS, FICOI
What can you tell us about your background?
I grew up in Maryland where I received my Bachelors of Science from the University of Maryland. After graduating with honors from the University of Maryland Dental School, I trained in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Hahnemann University Hospital and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. During high school, I enjoyed lacrosse and wrestling. I played trumpet in a jazz band and guitar in a rock band called InciDental.
What originally attracted you to the implant specialty?
Seeing a patient’s transformation from not having teeth to having a brand-new set in a day appeals to me. My most rewarding patients previously have been turned down by multiple other surgeons or dentists. The clinicians say the patients’ cases are impossible to treat because of issues with the amount of available bone, but now there are special implants for people with insufficient bone. These implants can be placed in the cheek (zygomatic implant), in the pterygoid bone, or in the nasal area. We can use these in concert to fill patients’ needs. It is unconventional, but we have gotten positive results. Dr. Ole Jensen, a Brånemark award-winning oral surgeon, is one of the pioneers of these techniques. A close friend of mine, Dr. Robert Mogyoros, was one of Dr. Jensen’s fellows. So now Dr. Mogyoros and I are the only two dentists in the Philadelphia market who place these special types of implants. Dr. Jensen also introduced me to Ditron Dental implants.
What prompted you to try Ditron Dental implants?
Dr. Jensen is the founder of Ditron Dental USA. He told me that Ditron was dentist-driven, dentist-oriented as well as dentist-focused. Since I trusted his opinion before, I knew that the products he endorsed were ultimately focused on helping the patients, not just the company’s business bottom line. That was super appealing to me.
Besides practicing dentistry, I also oversee a group of 80 practices as Chief Clinical Officer and Chief of Implantology of the largest DSO in the region, ProSmile. I deal with a lot of implant companies. I have noticed a disconnect — many times there are no doctors making upper-level decisions. The businesspeople making those decisions don’t understand the nuances and subtleties that really make a difference. To dentists, it’s about the patient. We’re not there to help the implant company become huge. We want to deliver products that are best for patients. When I am on advisory board conference calls with Ditron, I have noticed there are more dentists on the call than businesspeople. I can relate to these colleagues and talk shop about implants, and the engineers can hear us discuss our needs. We help determine the fundamental nuances in the implants that will make a difference to patient care.
What is your biggest challenge in educating implant specialists?
My approach is never to be pushy. Ditron implants speak for themselves. For example, colleagues see me using a sensible, practical system that works. With the one-size platform, there are no random parts and pieces like a lot of other implant kits. There’s one implant insertion driver and one abutment driver. It’s a condensed kit that doesn’t take up a lot of space.
Why is the single platform system important to you?
I have a high-volume full-mouth implant practice. At that level, inventory is a headache. You can end up having a hundred types of implants with a hundred abutment pieces, and that really adds up. With Ditron, all implant sizes share a common platform — a single 2.45 mm platform regardless of the diameter of the implant. It’s convenient, easy to use, and less inventory. It’s simple and seamless. My assistants and associates don’t get confused because there is only one answer. The “bottom line” of the practice ultimately has benefited from it.
What advice would you give to dentists starting with implants?
My best suggestion is to get a lot of hands-on training to promote muscle memory. You can see fancy PowerPoint programs and understand the philosophy but not have the clinical skill to place implants correctly. Find a mentor who can teach you one-on-one. Also, develop your skills in another country in a clinic in a philanthropic way. In the Dominican Republic, many impoverished people can’t afford implants or other dental work. The clinic provides free care, and the dentists pay the clinic because they are learning. You can place many implants that way.
What is the future of implants?
At some point, I think we will be 3D-printing customized implants. Ultimately, we will be able to scan a patient’s jaw, view the exact anatomy of the tooth, extract that tooth, and print an implant that is an exact duplicate of the tooth. Also, the future may hold regrowing teeth from stem cells.
How did you first learn about Ditron Dental USA?
I vetted the implants from a factual standpoint and did some background research. I started placing them on patients, waited 4 months, and was very pleased with the results. I was impressed with the Reverse Concave Neck (RCN) of the Ditron ULT™ Ultimate implant. The main issue with implants is crestal bone loss — the bone loss where the gums meet the bone. This is the smartest version of the type of implant that will eliminate or reduce crestal bone loss. It is based off of new information. The microthreads on the Reverse Concave Neck create implant-to-bone contact that resists axial loads. The decreased pressure on the cortical bone and lack of vascular compression preserve the peri-implant marginal bone and soft tissue.
Ditron is known for precision manufacturing. Why is precision important with implants?
Ditron was founded to supply components for the aerospace and automotive industries. For aerospace and high-performance vehicles, a couple of microns can make a difference. And that is the same with implants. Bacteria can be 0.5 microns or larger; viruses are 0.2 microns. That’s where precision gets vital. Food, saliva, and bacteria can get stuck in the smallest opening where it multiplies and seeps out right at the bone.
Does that relate to the implant/abutment junction and peri-implantitis?
Peri-implantitis is definitely an issue. Most implant types (ie. shoulder, hip, and knee replacements) are contained inside the body. With dental implants, we don’t have that luxury as they are exposed to the oral cavity. So precision is important to minimize bacteria. MolecuLock™ technology on the ULT implant ensures a tight implant-abutment connection that reduces microgap and microleakage. It protects crestal bone and soft tissue from the risks of peri-implant disease.
How does Ditron provide initial stability for immediate load?
The Double-Stressless Sharp Threads (DSST) have an apical-coronal incremental thickness and a descending concave profile between the threads. The threads and extra groove allow for greater initial stability. Immediate loading is dependent on the initial stability of the screw. Having an implant that provides predictable high torque is a must in a full-arch implant practice. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to deliver loaded teeth the same day.
What about costs?
There are companies that are riding the wave of having a recognizable big name that people pay for, but in many cases, the products have not advanced. Ditron is an excellent, high-quality, precision product for a reasonable price.
What are your hobbies, and what do you do in your spare time?
Right now my main hobby is making sure my 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son don’t injure themselves. I like to travel when it’s safe. I have a very exciting new hobby. A few dentist friends and I purchased a distillery in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and started a rum business. We launched in July. Called Klyr Rum, it is an American-made and extremely smooth silver rum.
What is your future goal clinically?
My main intention is to raise the bar clinically. If I am going to be an influencer, I want to do excellent work with innovative implants to inspire other dentists. Ditron is doctor-driven and receptive to dentists’ and patients’ needs. That’s refreshing. That’s why I became a part of the advisory board. Dr. Jensen is one of the fathers of implant dentistry, so just being a part of the Ditron team is a breath of fresh air and tremendous opportunity for me, and I am grateful for that. I believe that Ditron implants will make the future of implants even brighter with all the dentist-driven innovations to come.
Read how Dr. David Salmassy provided Ditron Dental implants to a patient who had not seen a dentist in a decade: https://implantpracticeus.com/immediate-implant-placement-and-reestablishing-vertical-dimension/