UniCamillus globally recognised: Professor Lione’s project wins the Align Technology award

The Medical University of Rome is awarded a research grant to study malocclusions and the Wilson curve.

In the increasingly competitive landscape of dental and orthodontic research, the UniCamillus University of Rome stands out as one of the world’s leading institutions. Thanks to its ongoing commitment to promoting scientific and technological research, UniCamillus has received a prestigious award from the American orthodontic company Align Technology as part of its Annual Research Awards Programme.

With a research grant awarded as part of the 2023 programme, UniCamillus International Medical University has received significant funding to support innovative projects aimed at improving patient care in the fields of orthodontics and dentistry.

The UniCamillus project: malocclusions, Wilson curve and correction techniques

Among the many projects submitted from all over the world, the research project led by Prof. Roberta Lione, lecturer at UniCamillus and expert in the diagnosis and treatment of malocclusions in growing and adult patients, caught the attention of the overseas audience. And this is precisely what the world prize-winning project is all about.

In order to have good teeth and efficient chewing, it is not enough for the teeth to be simply ‘straight’: the upper and lower dental arches must coincide when they come together. For this, the so-called ‘Wilson curve’ is essential, i.e. an imaginary line describing the course of the back teeth (molars and premolars) from left to right: these are not all at the same height, and the ideal curve of Wilson makes chewing more effective. This curve is the focus of Prof. Lione’s research project, entitled “Wilson curve modification in young adults: comparison between Invisalign system and continuous arch wire treatment”.

‘The aim of the research project is to analyse the effects of orthodontic therapy using the clear aligner technique. Biomechanics with clear aligners requires strategic visualisation and up-to-date knowledge. For this reason, it is necessary to examine and understand in depth the differences between conventional orthodontic multibrackets therapy and orthodontic therapy with clear aligners. The aim of the research is to compare the two techniques in order to visualise their different effects and maximise the therapeutic steps’, says Prof. Lione. ‘The specific objectives are to evaluate the effectiveness of aligner therapy in managing a fundamental aspect of the cross-sectional dimension of the patient’s permanent teeth. The Wilson curve is an important parameter that very often conceals transverse discrepancy between the upper jaw and lower jaw, affecting the entire mouth closure’.

Does an ideal dental occlusion exist? ‘Absolutely,’ replies Prof. Lione, ‘and apart from the technical characteristics, I like to describe the ideal occlusion to my patients using more understandable but equally truthful adjectives. The literature teaches us that the ideal occlusion must be stable over time, i.e. functional, guaranteeing the correct functions of the mouth such as chewing, swallowing and phonation, and at the same time it must respect aesthetic rules in accordance with the peculiar characteristics of each patient’.

Prof. Lione is also keen to emphasise the contributions made by her other female colleagues on the team, who collaborated on the project. ‘Ours is an all-female research team, led by Prof. Paola Cozza and consolidated by decades of collaboration. With Dr Pavoni, Dr Gazzani and many other experienced colleagues, we work every day on collecting study samples to improve the quality and predictability of our orthodontic treatments and to guarantee good and stable results for our patients. For our team, clinical practice and scientific research are an inseparable pair that help improve the extraordinary profession of the orthodontist and promote evidence-based therapeutic strategies’.

For the future, according to Prof. Lione, the most promising research lines are related to ‘the implementation of digital workflow in all fields of dentistry, to ensure not only better results, but also more pleasant experiences for patients, and the integration of AI in therapeutic processes in dentistry’.

In addition to UniCamillus, another Italian university has also been awarded a prize by Align Technology―the Università Statale di Milano. As many as two Italian universities out of 11 candidates around the world: this is proof that research in Italy is being done, and is being carried out very well indeed!

Another two UniCamillus projects awarded in 2022

This is not the first time that Prof. Lione and UniCamillus have won research funds. In 2022, two research projects made our university worthy of receiving the same awards on the same occasion.  The first was entitled “Effects of IPR by mechanical oscillating strips system on biological structures: a qualitative evaluation”; the second one was “Cephalometric assessment of mandibular sequential distalization with Invisalign in Class III patients”.

The opening of the 2024 programme by Align Technology offers further opportunities to continue to drive innovation and advancement in dental and orthodontic research worldwide. And UniCamillus is not backing down―quite the contrary! With its ongoing commitment to research, our University continues to lead the field towards new discoveries and solutions to improve dental health and patient well-being.