Resident Feature: TADs Come to Buffalo for Cunat Memorial Lecture

By: Dr. Kevin Kurtzner, DDS 
Orthodontic Resident, University at Buffalo, Class of 2019

On Friday June 9th, orthodontists from Western New York and beyond gathered in Buffalo, NY for a full day course presented by Dr. Sebastian Baumgaertel titled Contemporary Approaches to TADs. The event took place at the Buffalo Marriott Harborcenter in the Canalside District, an up and coming area that has been a large part of the city’s revitalization.

The continuing education event was hosted by the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine Department of Orthodontics with support from the John J. Cunat Education Fund. This endowment was created following the late Dr. Cunat’s retirement in 1995, with the intent to sponsor educational events in his honor. According to current Program Director Dr. Thikriat Al-Jewair (UB c/o 2012), since its inception in 2004, the annual John J. Cunat Lecture has brought 13 world-renowned experts to Buffalo to speak on a broad range of topics in the field of orthodontics, including the most recent lecture by Dr. Sean Edwards in 2016 on digital planning for orthognathic treatment. “The goal each year is to bring in a speaker on a topic that will be beneficial for current residents and experienced clinicians alike,” said Dr. Al-Jewair.

This year’s lecture continued the tradition of enlightening speakers with Dr. Sebastian Baumgaertel. Dr. Baumgaertel currently serves as a Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Skeletal Anchorage Clinic at Case Western Reserve University, in addition to running a private practice in Cleveland, OH. He lectures internationally on the topic of Temporary Anchorage Devices and their usefulness in the practice of orthodontics. He is highly respected and looked to as an authority in the field of mini-implants. His presentation, Contemporary Approaches to TADs, gave a comprehensive yet detailed look at these innovative tools. He began by discussing the ideal characteristics of TADs, including dimensions and design of the shank, collar and head. In doing so, he compared various products to Dentaurum’s Tomas System, which he utilizes in his own practice and for which he speaks. Next, there was discussion on clinical topics such as the bone’s dynamic response to TAD insertion, the ideal application of topical anesthesia, and situations which may require the practice of pre-drilling. The importance of proper torque application and implant site selection when inserting TADs were emphasized. The final portion of the lecture focused on the importance of the amount and timing of force application, as well as biomechanics and the numerous clinical applications for TADs.

Dr. Baumgaertel’s lecture proved to be extremely informative and useful, thanks in large part to the use of both literature and his own clinical experience to support the information presented. Said Dr. Nate Thomas (UB c/o 2014) of the lecture, it “was phenomenal, as it was very clear and well-organized. It is rare to find a seminar that can be so easily implemented in the clinic..the speaker did an outstanding job laying out the do’s and dont’s in order to have high success with orthodontic mini screws.”

Headshot_CunatThis year’s Cunat lecture was especially important, being the first since the passing of Dr. John Cunat in July of 2016. A memorial reception was held the night prior to the lecture and served as a wonderful opportunity for alumni to share memories of their mentor and friend. Dr. Cunat had his start in the field of orthodontics studying in Chicago under the likes of Dr. Carl Gugino and Dr. Robert Ricketts, two pioneers in the field of orthodontics, and cephalometrics in particular. He joined the Department of Orthodontics and the University at Buffalo shortly after its establishment as the first post-graduate specialty program at UBSDM. During his forty years of service here, Dr. Cunat was able to educate countless aspiring orthodontists and instill in them solid foundational principles to help them succeed in their careers. Over the course of his career the program went through many changes, including shifting from a hospital-based program at Women’s and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo to the current clinic within the dental school.

Dr. Cunat will be remembered not only for his educational contributions to the Department of Orthodontics at UB, but also for the person that he was. Said Dr. Paul Ziarnowski (UB c/o 1982), “Dr. Cunat was a special mentor to so many because he was as concerned with developing quality people as he was with providing a quality orthodontic education.” He was described as a family man, and always reminded his residents not to “get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” Countless stories were shared at his memorial reception describing the effect that this positive attitude and warm personality had on the educational experience.

As a first year resident relatively new to the field of orthodontics, I found the 2017 Cunat Lecture to be an invaluable experience. Orthodontics is a field that is rich in history and it was an honor to be able to celebrate a man who contributed so greatly to that. Additionally, I have already been able to implement much of what I learned from Dr. Baumgaertel’s lecture into my own clinical use of TADs, and would encourage everyone to attend one of his highly beneficial lectures!