Getting started

March 21, 2012

Issue 11

  Fewer than half of the respondents to the October 2010 DPR Implant Survey said they are currently placing implants, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be up to date on implant treatments and have a surgical partner in mind so they can offer implants as an option to their patients.

 

Fewer than half of the respondents to the October 2010 DPR Implant Survey said they are currently placing implants, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be up to date on implant treatments and have a surgical partner in mind so they can offer implants as an option to their patients.

“Not everyone will have the confidence to do both the surgical and restorative aspects of implant dentistry, but if implant dentistry truly has become the standard of care, all dentists must be involved in some capacity,” Dr. Robert Miller said.

Getting started with implants involves training, and Dr. Miller advises turning to a professional organization or study club rather than an implant manufacturer for a well-rounded approach to the treatments.

Still, if a clinician plans to work on restoring implants, but does not expect to place them, the techniques and knowledge needed to get started are not too different than techniques for placing a non-implant crown. Dr. Miller said gaining an understanding of how implants work and the parts involved in implant systems is really the only extra knowledge required.

“If an implant is properly placed, it’s a very easy procedure to place an impression post and take and impression to send off to the laboratory with a proper prescription and have a beautiful crown made for that implant,” he said.

In fact, the laboratory can serve a valuable resource for dentists new to implants. Dr. Brien Harvey said labs that work with a wide range of implant systems and a variety of types of implant cases usually have a broad base of implant knowledge to share.

“Labs can be good resources and might even be able to point less-experienced clinicians in the right direction,” he said.

With training being paramount, Dr. Miller said it is also important to gain an understanding of the types of implant cases you will be providing and to focus on learning the implant systems that are designed for those types of cases. This can help dentists new to implants avoid what he went through acquiring new implant systems because his practice would hit the limits of the care he could provide with one system and needed to find something else to address new treatment challenges.

“There’s no reason for younger clinicians to go out and purchase system after system,” he said. “I wouldn’t want anyone to follow the path that I took. Over 25 years, I have incorporated 16 implant systems into my practice.”

With so many resources available to help dentists along, adding implant offerings to a practice takes a commitment to education and a dedication to finding surgical and laboratory partners. Dr. Miller emphasized the best way to get started is to work with professional organizations dedicated to implants.

“It is incumbent upon the younger clinician getting involved in implant dentistry to not just take a weekend course, but to get involved in an implant organization,” he said