Open Letter to my Colleagues: Healing Abutment Reuse Advisory
To my fellow colleagues,
Please be aware of the medical and legal implications of the reuse of implant components.
It has come to my attention that the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) has launched an investigation and discovered a dentist on faculty has reused healing abutments. They are now notifying 184 patients that they may be at risk, stating that reusing healing abutments may increase the failure of implants and cause the patient swelling, inflammation, and severe pain and discomfort.
I want to share this information with you so you have the opportunity to evaluate your procedures and help others make informed decisions in practice.
Saving a few hundred dollars in materials is far outweighed by the risk and expense this dentist has cost his patients, as well as the legal ramifications and professional consequences he is now facing. This dentist will be reprimanded, and may never work again as a result of his choices.
The dentist under investigation, Dr. Phillip Devore, was Clinical Director of the Faculty Group Practice at UNLV and held private practice in Las Vegas. On his website, Dr. Devore describes himself as a teaching, and practicing dentist and an expert witness, case planner and evaluator to the legal profession.
Now facing legal backlash himself, Dr. Devore says he sterilized the abutments before reusing and that he believes this is not a health risk. Last year, I exposed the issue that cleaning and sterilizing healing abutments does not completely remove contaminants in my research article: “In-Vitro Study of the Contamination Remaining on Used Healing Abutments after Cleaning and Sterilizing.” Further research has shown that cells will not attach when abutments are reused, rendering it ineffective. To learn more, please download “Reuse of Implant Healing Abutments”. You can also read the letter UNLV sent out informing patients of their discovery and read the news story online on the Las Vegas Review Journal’s website.
I encourage you to share this knowledge with your team. We should be teaching with the goal of improving our industry practices and always striving to provide the highest quality care with our patient’s long-term oral health in mind.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.
Chandur Wadhwani, DDS, MSD