News Release

July 19, 2006

Contact: Jane Shaskan, 860-679-4777

UConn Center for Implant and Reconstructive Dentistry Receives Major Donation

FARMINGTON, CONN. - The University of Connecticut’s Center for Implant and Reconstructive Dentistry announced today that it has received a major philanthropic investment from a leading manufacturer of medical devices and dental implants.

Astra Tech Inc., a Massachusetts-based subsidiary of the global company Astra Tech AB, pledged a significant gift to support the center, part of the UConn School of Dental Medicine and UConn Health Center’s Musculoskeletal Institute. The gift will be used to promote clinical and translational research efforts, and educate dental students and dental practitioners to perform leading-edge procedures in a state-of-the-art environment.

The Center for Implant and Reconstructive Dentistry is scheduled to open in 2007 as a teaching, research and patient care organization. It will also serve as a training center and regional support network for dental implant studies and practice. Dental implants are artificial replacements for natural teeth, and alternatives to traditional crowns, bridges or dentures. They are surgically placed below the gums and fused to the jawbone.

"Implants are state-of-the-art technology today," says Dr. Thomas Taylor, head of Oral Rehabilitation, Biomaterials and Skeletal Development at UConn Health Center. "They last longer than most traditional dental bridges anchored to natural teeth, can be installed with minimal discomfort and bruising, are not susceptible to tooth decay, and are resistant to infection. Implants offer a much more conservative solution for missing teeth than more traditional methods of tooth replacement."

Despite the advantages of implants, many community dentists have not yet embraced the technology because they haven’t been trained in their use, something that Taylor says the Center will address both through training for community dentists and by serving as a resource center for ongoing professional development. Focusing on translational research, the Center will bridge the gaps between the community, academics and ongoing dental research.

Taylor says the Astra Tech gift provides a vital boost during the Center’s formative development and opening stages. “This is really a win-win for everyone,” Taylor says. “This kind of academic/corporate partnership is so important and allows for an incredible potential of growth in the entire field.”

"UConn is an outstanding institution and we are excited to support their academic goals, especially in the area of dental health,” says Scott Root, President and CEO of Astra Tech Inc. “Coming from a company focused on partnership, the people-side of UConn has really made the difference. We believe that under its great leadership our collaboration will prove to be a success."

Astra Tech Inc., of Waltham, MA, is a subsidiary of the Astra Tech AB, part of the global pharmaceutical corporation AstraZeneca. Astra Tech AB employs approximately 1,400 people around the world; the number of employees in the dental area at Astra Tech has more than doubled in the past year.

The Musculoskeletal Institute at the UConn Health Center includes all patient care services, education and research initiatives related to treatment and prevention affecting bones, joints and connective tissue. Services included within the Institute include the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, UConn Sports Medicine, UConn Center for Osteoporosis, both the Divisions of Rheumatology and Neurosurgery, as well as imaging services and rehabilitation along with the basic and translational research efforts such as the world class bone biology group and the clinical bioskills and biomechanics.

Many of the services that make up the Musculoskeletal Institute are housed in the UConn Health Center’s new state-of-the-art Medical Arts & Research Building. For more information about the UConn Health Center’s Musculoskeletal Institute, visit

The UConn School of Dental Medicine is New England’s only public school of dentistry, and provides predoctoral educational opportunities for individuals who desire to become broadly competent general practitioners of dental medicine, capable of providing for the oral health care needs of the state’s citizens. The school also offers postdoctoral training in all accepted dental educational programs. Building upon its educational commitments, the School of Dental Medicine offers quality, comprehensive oral care and promotes the concept of wellness and the preservation of health and prevention of disease. School of Dental Medicine students ranked first among the country’s 55 dental schools on the National Board Examinations in 2001 and again in 2003.

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

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