Dr. Schnitman In the News

An Impossible Dream: Elizabeth Scotland still has first osseointegrated dental implants in New England, 
placed in 1983 by Dr. Schnitman 

SHARON, MA—The idea that a titanium dental implant could integrate with her jaw bone and give her back the teeth she had lost to periodontal disease once seemed an impossible dream to 87-year-old Elizabeth Scotland.

She had come to the United States with her husband, Frank, in 1957, seeking opportunities in his chosen trade, tool making. The Scotlands knew there was demand for skilled toolmakers in the Boston area, and he quickly found work and then moved up the ladder at Gillette.

She suffered with a dental plate, almost unable to eat many of the foods she liked. “I knew there must be something better than the dental plate I had, but to be honest, I thought I’d be gone by the time they got something,” Mrs. Scotland says.

In the early 1980s, she started inquiring and heard about the new osseointegrated dental implant then available from a U.S. training center established by Dr. Paul Schnitman at Harvard University.

“I so wanted to have implants. I used to read about them,” Mrs. Scotland says. She went to see Dr. Schnitman, who was looking for a patient for his first Brånemark osseointegrated dental implant (named for its Swedish founder,                                                                                                                                                  Professor Per Ingvar Brånemark).                

“I was just back from the first North American Brånemark training session in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and looking for patients. Mrs. Scotland was a perfect first patient,” Dr. Schnitman remembers. He still sees Mrs. Scotland in his private practice in Wellesley Hills, MA.

In 1983, he replaced her lower dental plate with five lower implants. When the implants healed and the bone fused with them, porcelain crowns were added, and she still has them today. She received one of the first Brånemark implants done in New England.

“It was heaven. I could eat anything with no problem,” Mrs. Scotland says. “She was the perfect patient,” Dr. Schnitman remembers.

Shortly after receiving the implants, her late husband was transferred to India to manage a Gillette factory there. “Now I could go anywhere with confidence,” she says.

Though implants can be more costly than some dental therapies, Mrs. Scotland does not regret the cost. “I’m just very grateful to have them done. I always try to buy the best, even when buying a smallest thing for the kitchen. Buy the best,” she says.

Dr. Schnitman currently practices in Wellesley Hills and teaches implant treatment planning, surgery, and restoration to advanced graduate periodontal and prosthodontics residents at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. He is the recipient of Harvard’s Distinguished Faculty Award and the American Academy of Implant Dentistry’s highest awards: The Gershkoff and The Lew Awards.

His practice, Dental Implants of Boston (www.dentalimplantsofboston.com), Suite S-104, Concord, MA,  (781) 235 9988), specializes in dental implants and “creating beautiful smiles.” The practice brings Dr. Schnitman’s expertise in both the surgical and restorative aspects of implant dentistry under one roof. Dental Implants of Boston provides a full range of dental procedures, from superior preventive care to the highest level of refinement in cosmetic and restorative dentistry. The practice is committed to providing alternative treatment plans to ensure that patients have every opportunity to understand and participate in their treatment.

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