FOR helps restore Easter Island smiles on a humanitarian mission for dental implant treatment

Easter Island humanitarian mission

Dental implantology experts and the Foundation of Oral Rehabilitation (FOR) have taken a new treatment solution for edentulism to Rapa Nui (also known as Easter Island) in a remarkable humanitarian project.


In the week-long project led by surgeons Dr. Kenji Higuchi and Dr. Ruben Rosenberg, eleven patients suffering from mandibular edentulism were treated with the groundbreaking new Trefoil system, launched by Nobel Biocare in 2017.


Rapa Nui is one of the most isolated inhabited islands in the world. Home to a population of under 8000, the community is served by just one resident dentist. However, when in need of dental care, many members of the community are faced with limited resources and severe financial restrictions. In response to this need, Dr. Rosenburg partnered with FOR Expert Network member and inspiration behind the Trefoil system, Dr. Higuchi, to initiate this inspiring FOR project.


In Rapa Nui’s small local hospital, the life-changing treatment was performed by a voluntary team of surgeons, prosthodontists, lab technicians, nurses, support staff, and the island’s only resident dentist, Dr. Felipe Collao. The eleven surgeries were performed within just two-days, and all patients received their final prosthesis by day three.


With surgery and restoration now complete for all eleven patients, local dentist Dr. Collao will serve to provide follow-ups along with Dr. Rosenberg.


Michael Hotze, Executive Director, FOR, said; “We are deeply honored to have taken part in this project, reaching out to an underserved population in providing their such needed treatment. It is part of our long-term mission to support better patient treatment around the globe, and I look forward to seeing their successful follow-ups in the months and years to come.”


Dr. Kenji Higuchi said; “In three long days, I am very proud to report that our team completed the Trefoil surgical, restorative and laboratory protocols for 11 patients.  This is an unimaginable accomplishment.

“Most importantly, the gratitude of the Rapa Nui patients involved was through the roof with heartwarming responses. The improvement in their quality of life will be witnessed by the community for years to come.

He added; “Many providers in healthcare understand that we have a responsibility to help those in need, but unless we act on that need we are only offering pity.  Ruben and I had the good fortune of learning this humanitarian quality from the father of the modern dental implant, Prof. P-I Brånemark.”