Ga. dental school defends using dogs to test implants

A Georgia dental school is defending a program that used dogs to test human dental implants.

Christopher Cutler, DDS, PhD, head of the periodontics department at the Georgia Regents University College of Dental Medicine in Augusta, said implants had to be tested in animals before human trials could begin, according to a greenwichtime.com story. The research is used to come up with answers to serious medical problems, he noted.

The program uses dogs because the types of diseases and bone loss the dogs experience are similar to humans, Dr. Cutler said.

A recent undercover investigation revealed dogs being used in the program had teeth pulled and replaced with implants, according to the Humane Society. The dogs were euthanized afterward, and researchers took samples of their jaw bones. News of the testing prompted accusations of animal cruelty.

The testing program is regularly reviewed by federal officials, and the school adheres to local, state, and federal guidelines, according to university officials. The school has been approved to continue using animals in research for the next three years.

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