Implanting wisdom

Dental implant therapy is a growth area affording dentists the opportunity to improve the patient care they provide and increase the profit they can make. But before offering it to patients, appropriate steps must be taken to ensure patients opting for the procedure will benefit and not come to any harm.

For dentists new to this area, there is much to consider and overcome. One of the first and most important things to address is the fear many practitioners feel about tackling the surgical element of this procedure.

Many dentists feel intimidated and believe that in order to do implants you must do the surgery. This isn’t necessarily true as there are many implant surgeons who can do that part of the task for you, leaving you with only the prosthetics to do yourself.

Communication is central to the success of this kind of arrangement. For example, to ensure that the correct number of implants are being placed and in an aesthetically pleasing position.

It is my feeling that, even if you don’t want to do surgical procedures yourself, you will still have to have some surgical knowledge. Otherwise you may encounter difficulties when it comes to putting together treatment plans and when communicating properly with your implant surgeon.

If implant therapy is not something you have attempted before then there are many courses now available that can provide you with the skills you need to start. It is essential to pick a course that suits the level of knowledge and skills you already have.

Some courses are run by individuals and others by implant companies. Which one you prefer is up to you, but you need to be sure that it will teach you everything you need to know.

When you’ve got the skills, it’s then time to look at what implant system you should use. There are a number of

excellent ones available with long clinical track records and you need to find the one that suits your needs best. When making your decision, ask your colleagues for recommendations and don’t be afraid to contact companies directly for further information.

I prefer to use systems with long proven track records. I also like them to be able to back up their product claims with scientific research, making an understanding of the scientific literature handy.

Further to the above considerations, it’s also worth thinking about training your staff in selling dental implant therapy ethically. Implants are high-value items and if your team can sell them well, there’s plenty of money to be made.

After completing implant therapy, offer ongoing preventative care to your patients too.

This has obvious benefits for them, but also for your practice too. It’s good customer service and generates goodwill, meaning that your patients will be more likely to sing your praises to others. It will take time and investment to put all the changes I have mentioned into practice, but in the long term it will be worth the effort.

The financial costs of setting up the prosthetic side of your practice will actually be quite small. Many of the start-up costs can be paid for by the cash flow generated by offering these treatments to your patients.

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