10 January 2022

Bas Loomans has been appointed professor 'Oral Function and Restorative Dentistry' at the Radboud university medical center / Radboud University as of 1 December 2021. He combines his work as a dentist with leadership of his research group and coordination of education and patient care. In this way he builds bridges between the needs of clinical practice, scientific innovations and the education and training of dentists.

The patient is central to dentist and professor Bas Loomans (Eindhoven, 1974). That is why he has always continued to work as a dentist alongside his academic career. "In this way I keep the connection with the general practice. I like to come out of the ivory tower and see what dentists and patients need," he says. "In addition, I think it is important to focus on what is best for a patient. The choice of a material or technique comes second. My advice: consult with the patient, treat only what is necessary and think about meaningful and affordable care."

Radboud Tooth Wear Project

After studying dentistry, Loomans received his PhD from RU in 2007 for his thesis, titled ‘Proximal contact tightness of posterior composite resin restorations’. Loomans worked as a visiting researcher at the Catholic University of Leuven, but always remained connected to the Department of Dentistry of the Radboud university medical center. There he combines clinical care, research and teaching, with a strong focus on restoration and preservation of oral functions, attention for quality of life and use of minimally invasive treatment techniques.

As a dentist, Loomans specializes in severe tooth wear. "That's why I started the Radboud Tooth Wear Project in 2010, to which patients with severe problems are referred," he explains. "Within this project, we conduct research into the cause of tooth wear, the best treatment techniques and how this affects the patients' quality of life. We have a unique patient group that we have now been following for more than ten years. That is a great source for scientific research."

Cross-pollination

In addition to research, the Tooth Wear Project also offers a clinical workplace, where dentists, students and patients meet. Here, Loomans and his team provide postgraduate education for dentists who are learning about tooth wear. They see patients and involve master's students in the treatment. "That generates great discussions and this creates a cross-pollination between care, initial and post-initial education and research. I'd like to stimulate that and expand it further, together with national and international partners."

Cross-pollination is a common thread in Loomans' work. For example, from the central theme of tooth wear, he seeks connection with other areas, such as various restorative treatments (from standard technique to fully 3D CAD-CAM guided treatments), lifestyle issues (reflux problems, nutrition, stress factors), functional problems (chewing problems and effect of treatment on for instance speech) and quality of life (patient-related outcome measures). In this way he creates reinforcement, broadening and deepening within his chair. The translation to the clinic is central and he connects the laboratory with clinical studies.

AI helps dentist

For the future, Loomans is strongly committed to digitization in dentistry. "We can already take 3D pictures of the teeth. It would be great if these scans become a regular part of the periodic check-up. The computer can automatically compare scans from different time points, supporting the dentist with an objective assessment of the teeth and helping to make the best treatment decision. Therefore, we are developing artificial intelligence (AI) within a multidisciplinary collaboration. Digital technology will change oral care and thus further improve the quality of clinical care."

For his work, Loomans received, among other awards, the Steve Bayne Mid-Career Award from the International Association of Dental Research, because of the focus in his work on high-risk patients and the translation of his research into the clinic. His current appointment as Professor is for a period of five years.

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Annemarie Eek

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