Q&A: Dr. Joseph Gian-Grasso on trends and advances in dental implants

dentalproductsreport.com-2015-02-01, Issue 2

During a Tweet Chat with Dr Joseph Gian-Grasso, addressed trends and advances, and how to stay current and maintain success rates.

Dental Products Report recently hosted a Tweet Chat with Dr. Joseph Gian-Grasso, President of the Academy of Ossseointegration, and a member of the DPR Editorial Advisory Board. Throughout the #DentalImplantChat we addressed trends and advances, how to stay current and maintain success rates, and some of the Academy’s latest initiatives. Following is a recap in case you missed it. With 30+ years of experience, Dr. Gian-Grasso has some great tips.

What do you think about the current state of dental implants?

Very vibrant and growing rapidly: Implants are the most successful prosthetic device in medicine and have gained widespread acceptance.

How do you stay up-to-date on the latest in implant dentistry?

I’m the meeting-goer type and have run a study club for 40+ years. Obviously, I love the AO meeting and I read JOMI, JADA, and various industry publications.

What are some of the hottest trends/recent advances in implant dentistry?

Computer-guided surgery and CAD/CAM technologies are making surgical and restorative phases of implant therapy more predictable and efficient. New technologies are building on comprehensive assessments – stereolithographic models created from CBECAUSET data plus software treatment planning.

More from Dr. Gian-Grasso: What must be done to improve the current state of dental implants

What are some of your best tips to ensure implant success rates remain high/avoid complications?

Get proper training, follow guidelines, stay up-to-date on research, know when to refer, increase collaboration with partners and educate patients.

Why is it important to follow implant guidelines? Which do you follow?

AO’s guidelines are straightforward, comprehensive and available for anyone to use. Download them at www.osseo.org.

What do you think about GPs placing dental implants?

Today specialists place 60% of implants and general dentists place 40%. Projections indicate that by 2017 that will have completely reversed. It’s an exciting time for specialists and general dentists to come together to build mutually beneficial relationships and ensure optimal care. AO brings us together to make sure we’re all on the same page: getting proper training, following guidelines, being up-to-date, etc.

How do you feel about weekend warrior implant courses?

I strongly believe in proper training, which requires much more than a weekend training program. A single implant in the posterior may seem like a simple beginning case with minimal esthetic demand, but you can still quickly get into trouble.

What parameters do you recommend for training?

I recommend a program that involves about 200 hours. You have to master head and neck anatomy, new radiographic technologies, and the digital technology that can enhance patient outcomes. Proper training creates a solid foundation for a lifetime of learning and continued education.

What is AO doing to advance its global reach?

AO’s mission is to enhance oral health globally. AO has always been an international organization, but due to its strong North American emphasis, people have seen it as an American organization. AO formed a Charter Chapter program that has seen meetings in the UK, Spain, Israel, Italy, Japan and India. We’ve also added a new symposium to our annual meeting focusing on one country. This year is South Korea.

What are you most excited about for the upcoming Annual Meeting?

The South Korean Symposium where we’ll have speakers from South Korea present in English. South Korea has the highest per capita use of dental implants of any country. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Daniel Alam, who participated in the first facial transplant procedure at Cleveland Clinic. I’m looking forward to all of the sessions related to collaboration between professionals to ensure the best possible patient outcomes. AO’s new member lunch is incredible because you see a great deal of interaction. It’s a wonderful place to meet people. I’m also excited that #AO2015 is in San Francisco, which is probably the best meeting venue in the country!

Why should GPs attend the AO Annual Meeting?

GPs will find the atmosphere to be one of the most congenial and collegial of any meetings. It’s a great chance to get up-to-speed on the latest research, learn from various case studies and meet people. It’s full of practical advice for best patient care. There’s a great session called “Considerations for Monday Morning’s Patient.”  It’s a great chance to connect w/someone who’s been placing implants for 30+ years. We’ve all been in the same soup and the AO Annual Meeting gives us a chance to talk to each other about how we got out of it.

What advice do you have for students?

Become an avid student and understand your formal education is just a step in the door for continued education through your practice life. Whatever you learned in school will likely be obsolete in 10-20 years because of changes in technology and understanding of human biology. Stay current.

More from AO: How can dentists learn more about treating the edentulous maxilla? 

Why should students attend the AO meeting?

To be with leaders in the field of implant dentistry and tissue engineering and communicate one-on-one during the meeting and at social venues.

Where do you see implants heading in the next five years?

The global implant market is expected to double by 2018. It’s increasingly important for specialists and general dentists to work together

What’s the best professional advice you’ve ever been given?

Lifelong learning. It’s a journey that doesn't stop with graduation.

What advice do you have for GPs and specialists about entering into a referral partnership?

Communicate and collaborate. As we move forward in the digital era, it’s even easier to work together on treatment plans.

What are some best tips you learned in starting/keeping a referral network? 

Stay in contact and maintain the highest skill level. Be available and affable and keep the patient at the center of the conversation.  Even after 30 years, I still refer cases on a regular basis. Know what you can do and know what you can’t do. Trust your gut.

Trending article: The latest hourly and annual salary number for dental professionals

How do I climb out of student debt?  

Be very disciplined about finances and spending in the first 10 years out. Explore partnerships with a practice of someone nearing retirement. I’ve seen a lot of amicable acquisitions that benefit everyone.

For non-members out there, why should they consider joining AO?

AO is working hard to be a nexus where all of us who place or restore implants to come together. AO is a group of people committed to providing the best care possible. Together we evaluate emerging research, technology and share best practices. You automatically get a JOMI subscription when you join for free; we have an incredible annual meeting and the current president isn’t so bad.

Check us out at www.osseo.org to learn a lot more!