This file is provided for reference purposes only. It was current when it was produced, but it is no longer maintained and may now be out of date. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing information may contact us
for assistance. For reliable, current information on this and other health topics, we recommend consulting the NIH Clinical Center at http://www.cc.nih.gov/
A Smile for a Lifetime
Harold C. Slavkin, D.D.S.
Director, National Institute of Dental Research
National Institutes of Health
The human face provides a veneer for the brain, a sensory
apparatus to perceive our environment, a mirror of our feelings, and a portal
for breathing, eating and speech. As we near the new millennium, recall
that human life expectancy in 1900 was 45 years of age, and being toothless
was a normal expectation.
Today, with life expectancy nearing almost 80 years of age, can we really
anticipate going an entire lifetime with smiles where we retain all of our
teeth, free of chronic pain and discomfort? In the event that we do require
tooth replacement, such as in the case of children born with inherited ectodermal
dysplasia, there is presently remarkable technology in the form of dental
implants. Today, individual or complete tooth loss can be addressed using
dental implants throughout the lifespan. Tomorrow, through continued investment
in science and technology, we seek innovate bioengineering approaches to
regenerate body parts--including teeth-in the form of a science that mimics
biology, called biomimetics. With these and other advances, the mature adult
of today can anticipate a future that retains a "smile for a lifetime"
as never before in human history.
Since 1995, Dr. Slavkin has served as director for the National
Institute of Dental Research (NIDR), and chief of the craniofacial development
section of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin
Diseases, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Dr. Slavkin's primary research interests focus on the molecular processes
associated with craniofacial, oral and dental patterns. He served from 1989
to 1995 as director of the University of Southern California (USC) Center
for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, and previously served from 1975 to 1985
as chairman and program director of the Graduate Program in Craniofacial
Biology at USC.
Dr. Slavkin earned both his undergraduate degree and his D.D.S. from
the University of Southern California. He also held an NIH postdoctoral
fellowship in biochemistry at the University of Southern California
Before leaving the University of Southern California, Dr. Slavkin also
previously served as laboratory chief at the Laboratory for Developmental
Biology Gerontology Center, and chairman of the School of Dentistry's Department
of Biochemistry and Nutrition.
Dr. Slavkin is a member of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy
of Sciences. He is also a past president of the American Association for
Dental Research, member of the International Association for Dental Research
and the American Cleft Palate Association. He is on the editorial board
of the Craniofacial Developmental Biology & Genetics, International
Journal of Developmental Biology, Differentiation, Current Opinion in Dentistry,
and Oral Diseases.
For more information
about the Clinical Center and its Medicine for the Public lecture series,
contact CC Communications (OCCC@nih.gov),
of Health, Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.
Top | CC home | NIH
The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.