VHA IE Entrepreneur in Residence Dr. Raza Hussain, chief of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, is delivering new smiles for Veterans in just one day. Through support from the Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem (VHA IE) Innovation Fellowship Program, Hussain is further developing his project, Teeth in a Day. As an Entrepreneur in Residence, Hussain receives the support, network and time to implement his innovation both locally and beyond.
“Veterans are a hugely deserving population, and when the opportunity arose to make that my career I jumped on it,” said Hussain.
Hussain has been with VA for 11 years. He started his training at the University of Chicago and has been at VA since his residency. As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Hussain’s work includes performing wisdom-teeth sedation, complex facial reconstruction surgery, tumor resection, jaw surgery, and trauma surgery. It was through this work that he first started developing a solution to delays in Veterans receiving their dental implants.
“A lot of Veterans coming back from tours have residual defects from trauma that they unfortunately sustained, which falls under my scope of work,” noted Hussain.
The Teeth in a Day practice is an immediate dental implant loading protocol to modernize dental implant placement. Hussain’s work offers eligible Veterans an implant-retained prothesis in a single appointment. The practice will overhaul oral and maxillofacial surgery by offering full-arch prosthodontic rehabilitation of a patient’s entire missing dentition and surrounding soft tissue structures. With this process, an eligible Veteran who is missing all their teeth – or who has teeth damaged beyond repair – can have them replaced with an implant-retained prothesis in one visit.
“Dental implants have been around for decades, but traditionally it is a more staged and drawn-out process taking four to six months, which we have sped up,” said Hussain.
Hussain’s innovation allows Veterans to walk in, see a dentist, and have an implant in only one day. His program provides concrete improvements for Veterans’ health care, addressing access for rural Veterans by reducing the times they need to come into VA, eliminating longer healing times, improving the Veteran experience, reducing health risk factors and mitigating risk factors with anesthesia.
Dealing with an older and more vulnerable Veteran population, Hussain explains that patients must be eligible for Teeth in a Day. “We are particular about the patients we chose to use the implants,” he said. “Part of the project was developing a protocol and road map that works for us at the Jesse Brown VA.”
As an Entrepreneur in Residence, Hussain recognizes the opportunity he has as an innovator to develop professionally and have lasting impact on Veterans’ lives.
“Part of the reason I sought out the Fellowship was collaboration with other VA specialists,” said Hussain. “If we can keep Veterans at VA and make sure they get the care they need with us, that’s ideal.”