My journey in dentistry, as a young periodontist, clinician, and researcher, has been profoundly influenced by my unwavering commitment to pushing boundaries and creating a lasting impact. Through a seamless fusion of clinical insight, translational research, and educational endeavors, I am actively engaged in reshaping the future of dentistry. My passion lies in enhancing patient care and refining surgical techniques, and introducing advanced treatments that hold the potential to revolutionize the field. I am dedicated to bridging the gap between research and clinical practice, propelling dentistry into uncharted territories while nurturing the development of future dental professionals.

My research focus takes me deep into the realm of bone-anchored percutaneous implants. This domain addresses a persistent concern: the challenge of implant failure arising from infections at the soft tissue-implant interface. This is particularly pronounced in dental implants, where complications like peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis impact nearly half of all cases. As a part of Helms Laboratory at Stanford University's Department of Surgery, I am unwaveringly committed to exploring the intricacies of this interface. My goal is to bolster its barrier function through innovative strategies, ensuring better outcomes for patients.

Beyond research, I'm an advocate for a more inclusive and diverse dentistry landscape. I strongly believe that by sharing knowledge we can unify forces, unlearn, learn, relearn and motivate others. My life's ultimate goal is to inspire the upcoming generation of dentists to fearlessly pursue their dreams, be courageous and entirely dedicated to the field of science, thus impacting lives through the profound influence of dentistry's beauty and limitless potential.

Honors & Awards

  • Unlock your networking and leadership potential - Educational Grant, European Association of Osseointegration - Junior Comittee (2023)
  • Enhancing soft tissue integration of implants - Research Grant, Osteology Foundation (2022)
  • A multiscale, biology-based strategic approach to optimizing cleft repair outcomes - Research Grant, AOCMF (2022)
  • Educational Award, Osteology Foundation (2022)
  • Summa cum laude, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (2016)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, IADR - International Association for Dental Research (2023 - Present)
  • Member, Academy of Osseointegration (2022 - Present)
  • Member, AOCMF (2022 - Present)
  • Young consultant and speaker, Colgate (2019 - Present)
  • Membership and Credentials Committee, AO - Academy of Osseointegration Board (2023 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Doctor of Dental Surgery, Unlisted School (2016)
  • DDS, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Dentistry (2016)
  • Certificate, University of Michigan, Externship Program - Periodontology (2018)
  • MS, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Periodontology and Implantology (2019)

Stanford Advisors

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

My background in implantology and periodontology, combined with my microsurgical skills, has allowed me to tackle complex oral surgeries and intricate procedures. These skills have been instrumental in advancing the field and, more importantly, in improving the outcomes and well-being of my patients.

I've always believed in bridging the gap between fundamental research and its practical application in clinical settings. By amalgamating my clinical experiences with laboratory investigations, I've contributed to the development of surgical models that closely mimic human diseases and conditions. This approach enhances our understanding of how tissues respond to surgical interventions, paving the way for more effective treatments.

My research into mucosal integration of percutaneous implants and the role of Wnt signaling in implant osseointegration seeks to optimize the interaction between implants and surrounding tissues. This improved integration not only bolsters the stability of dental implants but also ensures their long-term success, ultimately enhancing the quality of life for our patients. My involvement in regenerative medicine research is driven by a passion for developing innovative strategies for tissue repair and regeneration. This work has the potential to revolutionize how dental professionals address challenges such as bone defects and periodontal tissue loss, leading to better patient outcomes.

One of my greatest joys is nurturing the next generation of dental professionals. Through my dedication to training and mentoring undergraduate and pre-dental students, I aim to equip them with advanced research and clinical skills. Fostering curiosity and empowering young minds to contribute to scientific advancements in dentistry is a responsibility I hold close to my heart.

I'm grateful for the international grants and collaborations that support my work. These resources not only enable my research but also contribute to the broader progress of our research laboratory. Together, we pursue innovative projects that have the potential to impact dental care on a global scale.

Recognizing the importance of effective communication, I've committed myself to enhancing my communication skills and engaging in professional development activities. Effective communication is key to translating research findings into clinical practice, influencing dental policies, and sharing knowledge within our professional community.

As I gaze into the future, I envision a dentistry landscape where my work may lead to more advanced and efficacious dental treatments, refined surgical techniques, and enhanced patient care. In the challenging realm of bone-anchored percutaneous implants, plagued by the persistent issue of implant failure due to infections at the soft tissue-implant interface, I confront this concern head-on. My mission is to meticulously investigate the biological and biophysical intricacies of this interface, with the aim of enhancing its barrier function through innovative strategies.

My journey from the confines of clinical practice to the expansive realms of research has been underpinned by a humble desire—a desire to forge a lasting impact on the field of dentistry, to ignite the flames of curiosity in future generations of dentists, and to contribute to the enhancement of dental care for all.

All Publications

  • Linking the Mechanics of Chewing to Biology of the Junctional Epithelium. Journal of dental research Yuan, X., Liu, B., Cuevas, P., Brunski, J., Aellos, F., Petersen, J., Koehne, T., Bröer, S., Grüber, R., LeBlanc, A., Zhang, X., Xu, Q., Helms, J. A. 2023: 220345231185288


    The capacity of a tissue to continuously alter its phenotype lies at the heart of how an animal is able to quickly adapt to changes in environmental stimuli. Within tissues, differentiated cells are rigid and play a limited role in adapting to new environments; however, differentiated cells are replenished by stem cells that are defined by their phenotypic plasticity. Here we demonstrate that a Wnt-responsive stem cell niche in the junctional epithelium is responsible for the capability of this tissue to quickly adapt to changes in the physical consistency of a diet. Mechanical input from chewing is required to both establish and maintain this niche. Since the junctional epithelium directly attaches to the tooth surface via hemidesmosomes, a soft diet requires minimal mastication, and consequently, lower distortional strains are produced in the tissue. This reduced strain state is accompanied by reduced mitotic activity in both stem cells and their progeny, leading to tissue atrophy. The atrophied junctional epithelium exhibits suboptimal barrier functions, allowing the ingression of bacteria into the underlying connective tissues, which in turn trigger inflammation and mild alveolar bone loss. These data link the mechanics of chewing to the biology of tooth-supporting tissues, revealing how a stem cell niche is responsible for the remarkable adaptability of the junctional epithelium to different diets.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/00220345231185288

    View details for PubMedID 37555395

  • Clinical and cone beam computed tomography outcomes of maxillary anterior implant restorations after immediate implant placement with interim restorations: A 1- to 14-year retrospective analysis. The Journal of prosthetic dentistry Bernal, G., Ruiz, L., Aellos, F., Salazar, C., Sadowsky, S. J. 2023


    STATEMENT OFPROBLEM: Achieving and maintaining optimal tissue health and esthetics when immediately placing maxillary anterior implants with interim restorations has been challenging and the clinical outcomesheterogenous.PURPOSE: The purpose of this retrospective study was to evaluate the clinical outcomes of immediate placement of maxillary anterior implants with interim restorations and compare the tomographic and clinical results before and after implant placement in participants followed for 1 to14 years.MATERIAL AND METHODS: Twenty participants receiving 25 postextraction single implants in the anterior maxilla were studied. Clinical parameters included pink esthetic score (PES) and white esthetic score (WES), peri-implant phenotype, implant probing, plaque index, and cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) to compare initial and at least 1 year after crown placement (postoperative). For qualitative variables, a descriptive analysis was carried out. The PES and WES results were analyzed by using nonparametric statistics, the median (ME) and the interquartile range (IQR) were used as summary measures, and the Wilcoxon sum of signs test was used to compare the total scores between the intervention area and the contralateral tooth. To compare pre- and postoperative data points, the paired t test was used (alpha=.05).RESULTS: Mean±standard deviation (SD) time of follow-up was 7.6±4.2 years. Twenty participants with a mean±SD age of 62.4±11.0 years old received 25 implants. Mean±SD initial torque value at implant placement was 38.6±9.63Ncm. Bone height at the top of the alveolar ridge (BH) and bone width at the middle of the alveolar ridge (BW2) showed a statistically significant decrease between the initial and subsequent CBCT measurements (both P<.001). Likewise, the bone width at the alveolar crest (BW1) showed a statistically significant decrease between the initial and post-CBCT measurements (P=.006). Facial bone integrity (FBI) revealed a statistically significant increase between the initial and postoperative time periods (P<.001). The PES index showed a median of 9.0 IQR (8-10), statistically lower than the contralateral tooth (P=.032). No significant differences were found for the WES index or for FBI, regardless of the peri-implant phenotype.CONCLUSIONS: Immediate implant placement in the maxillary anterior sextant was found to be a predictable procedure with good esthetic results when the protocol described was used. Labial bone loss is inevitable after tooth extraction but can be compensated for by filling the space with a xenograft material. Long-term gingival tissue integrity was maintained, regardless of phenotype, in periodontally healthy participants.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.prosdent.2023.05.028

    View details for PubMedID 37451900

  • Wnt/beta-Catenin Signaling in Craniomaxillofacial Osteocytes. Current osteoporosis reports Cuevas, P. L., Aellos, F., Dawid, I. M., Helms, J. A. 2023


    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: There is a growing appreciation within the scientific community that cells exhibit regional variation. Whether the variation is attributable to differences in embryonic origin or anatomical location and mechanical loading has not been elucidated; what is clear, however, is that adult cells carry positional information that ultimately affects their functions. The purpose of this review is to highlight the functions of osteocytes in the craniomaxillofacial (CMF) skeleton as opposed to elsewhere in the body, and in doing so gain mechanistic insights into genetic conditions and chemically-induced diseases that particularly affect this region of our anatomy.RECENT FINDINGS: In the CMF skeleton, elevated Wnt/beta-catenin signaling affects not only bone mass and volume, but also mineralization of the canalicular network and osteocyte lacunae. Aberrant elevation in the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway can also produce micropetrosis and osteonecrosis of CMF bone, presumably due to a disruption in the signaling network that connects osteocytes to one another, and to osteoblasts on the bone surface.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11914-023-00775-w

    View details for PubMedID 36807035