UW School of Dentistry

Dental alums invent safer lining for implant channels

Two School of Dentistry alumni have created the first medical-grade screw channel barrier material for dental implants. Frustrated by the lack of a dedicated material, Dr. Alexander Shor (Graduate Prosthodontics Class of 2001) and Dr. Jim Janakievski (Graduate Periodontics Class of 2004) created their award-winning product FirstPlug®.

Dr. Alexander Shor (left) and Dr. Jim Janakievski invented FirstPlug, which is a safer, medical-grade lining for the channel in which a dental implant is placed.
Dr. Alexander Shor (left) and Dr. Jim Janakievski invented FirstPlug®, which is a safer, medical-grade lining for the channel in which a dental implant is placed.

FirstPlug® is designed as a cylindrical PTFE rod and can be dispensed in specific lengths so that dentists and dental assistants can safely and easily fill screw access channels for implant restorations. Until now there had been no product designed specifically for this purpose, let alone one as optimized as FirstPlug®.

Dentists have been using a variety of materials including cotton pellets, silicone, and plumber’s tape to fill screw access channels. All were less than optimal for the intended purpose. For example, cotton pellets absorb moisture and promote bacterial growth. Plumber’s tape is an industrial product which lacks regulatory compliance and not intended for use in the human body.

Now that there’s a medical-grade product designed for implant restorations on the market, dental practitioners are starting to take advantage of it, including those in the School of Dentistry.

“We have been using the product for about six months now,” said Dr. Van Ramos, director of the Graduate Prosthodontics program. “It is a very useful material for us since it fits the size of the screw access perfectly and it is very easy to place. I also like the fact that it is a medical-grade material that can easily be sterilized before use.”

Dr. Shor and Dr. Janakievski said that Department of Restorative Dentistry has also approved FirstPlug® for use in the school’s predoctoral clinics.