Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Dental implant designed to help you shed pounds

By Peggy O'Farrell

The Cincinnati Enquirer

When Kelly Lodish wanted to lose a few pounds, she saw her dentist.

Lodish, 34, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., was one of the first women in the country to get the DDS System - a new oral implant designed to help dieters slow down and eat less.

Local dentists are now offering the implant, which is similar to a retainer.

The device, which is custom-fitted, serves two purposes, says Montgomery dentist Barry Gibberman. First, it takes up space in the mouth - leaving less room for food.

And secondly, it forces the wearer to eat slower, a plus since it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to get the stomach's message that it's full.

Lodish, who travels frequently and often ends up eating high-calorie restaurant foods, says the slow-down is what works for her. "I'm a marathon eater. I could eat for 40 minutes straight and still feel hungry."

She used the DDS System three meals a day for 30 days and lost six pounds - without changing the typed of foods she ate. It's not a huge weight loss, Lodish concedes, but it does help keep extra poundage from creeping on.

"I'm eating out all the time, and all of a sudden, I'm like, holy cow! Why am I five or 10 pounds heavier? Sometimes you don't pay attention," she says. "Portions are bigger. Traveling, you get off the plane and you're starving, so you're shoving a Big Mac in your mouth while you're running to the baggage area."

The device, designed to be inserted before every meal and removed after eating, is easy to use, Lodish says. She still uses it from time to time "kind of as a reminder."

"To me, the nicest thing about this device is it does not change your diet. It's all-natural. And it works. It's almost a no-brainer," Gibberman says. The DDS System costs $400 to $500.

Not everyone is a fan. Mary M. Tholking, a registered dietitian with the UC Physicians Weight Management Program, says the device doesn't do anything to teach users how to change their eating habits and it doesn't provide a maintenance plan "unless they're going to wear it for the rest of their lives."

Gibberman is one of more than 20 dentists in Greater Cincinnati who have been trained to fit and install the DDS System. To find a dentist, visit www.ddssystem.com and click on the "Find a Certified Dentist" link.---

E-mail pofarrell@enquirer.com

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