Media & news

Millions of smiles – millions more to come

by: Jim Mack

One man’s groundbreaking discovery and life’s work are just the beginning for the people of Nobel Biocare.

A true pioneer and innovator, Professor Brånemark continues to inspire friends and colleagues at Nobel Biocare. He taught us to put patients first as he unrelentingly pushed the limits of rehabilitation from oral and maxillofacial solutions to ever more advanced uses of osseointegrated implants.

For all of us at Nobel Biocare, the life and work of Professor Per-Ingvar Brånemark embodies everything our company stands for. He set the standards, gave us the guidelines and challenged us to be good stewards of his legacy.

“P-I never stopped thinking about how his invention could be used in applications for helping people in one way or another,” reflects Berit Adielson, one of the original nurses responsible for training and certifying early Brånemark System adopters. “He was a very warm person, interested in everyone around him.” After a moment of thought she adds. “And he was, without question, a very curious man.”

Where would it lead?

It was that curiosity of his that turned a temporary setback into a gigantic long-term breakthrough.

Magnus Persson, VP Global Sales Effectiveness explains. “When his optical chambers, made from titanium, integrated with the bone of rabbits and were difficult to remove, most people would have been upset or would have tried to manufacture the chambers in a different material to avoid the trouble. Not Brånemark!”

Instead, this annoying incident led to a discovery that “opened a path to body-part reconstruction”, as Miho Onodera, Marketing Specialist, Japan, puts it.

Professor Stefan Holst, Global Head, Research, Science & Regulatory Affairs, sees the professor’s greatness in slightly different terms. “As curious as P-I was, his most prominent trait was certainly his social responsibility and his focus on the well-being of the individual patient.

“The way he made the transition from a scientific observation to a global treatment concept, made him a living icon for millions.”

An inspiration in many ways

While Brånemark was inspired by his patients, he in turn inspired many people working at Nobel Biocare.

“I have always found it immensely worthwhile to share a few of P-I’s patient stories with new employees,” says Dr. Ramya Narayanaswamy, Training & Education Manager for the Asia-Pacific region. “It gives them a feel for what our company is all about. This part of the training usually leaves them both inspired and proud, and accentuates our ultimate goal: improving the quality of life of our patients.”

Dr. Alexandra Rieben, Head, External Studies & Clinical Evaluations, has always been impressed by the professor’s tenacity.

“What inspires me most about P-I is the entrepreneurial spirit he personified and the imperturbable vision he pursued to improve the lives of millions of edentulous patients. Although the path he chose was full of trials and tribulation, he stuck to his goals. As a result, after decades of struggle, he gained worldwide acceptance.”

Passing the torch

Brånemark set the standard for how Nobel Biocare approaches treating more patients better: Bold innovation backed by research, development, meticulous clinical follow-up and scientific validation.

Anders Glansk, VP Global Marketing, explains. “Due to the original novelty of osseointegration, P-I knew that only if his research was absolutely definitive and flawless, would he stand a chance to convince people. As a result, the methods he and his colleagues developed in the 60s and 70s are still the golden standard today.”

Hans Geiselhöringer, Executive VP, Global Research, Products & Development expands on the same thought. “It is our responsibility to maintain these standards now and in the future. It has been my personal objective to secure the scientific procedures and standards promoted by P-I and ensure that Nobel Biocare innovates with focus on patient relevance while using a fact-based approach.”

Working together

According to Thomas Kaup, Group Manager, Product Development, Brånemark had a great grasp of two specialties: engineering and medicine. “While he was supervising every technical detail he also ensured that the results were based on strong clinical evidence. One could say that he was a cross-functional team all by himself!”

From start to finish, Brånemark’s primary concern was always the best interest of the patient. To that end, he advocated teamwork at every stage of the treatment process. Nobel Biocare maintains that commitment today.

“He emphasized the importance of collaboration and exchanging information on every possibility and option to simplify and improve procedures,” says Camilla Billström, Marketing & Products Manager, Sweden. “That certainly permeates everything we do at Nobel Biocare.”

The professor lives on

Like the millions of patients who have benefited from Brånemark’s dedication and achievement, everyone at Nobel Biocare can also smile knowing that he touched our lives significantly, too.

“Like so many others,” says Joe Day, VP Marketing, North America, “I owe him not only my career, but many brilliant life experiences and wonderful friendships all over the world.”

Melker Nilsson, Executive VP, Head of Global Sales and Customer Development, is of the same mind. “From the first time I heard P-I speak back in 1993, it was clear that working for Nobel Biocare would be more than just a normal job,” he says. “Helping—if only on a very modest scale—to implement his vision to help other human beings improve their quality of life was a great privilege. It still is.”

P-I’s spirit obviously runs deep within Nobel Biocare. “We are very proud of carrying on his pioneering legacy and continue to build on this unique heritage,” says Dr. Pascal Kunz, Global Head, Business Unit Guided Surgery & Digital Dentistry. “It is our mission to continuously challenge the status quo, to carefully observe and improve our products and solutions, and to continue to develop meaningful and ingenious innovation.”

Condolences
To pay your respects to the Brånemark family for their loss or to share a short eulogy, please send a message to news.editors@nobelbiocare.com.

More to explore