Russel Diffenthal, national sales manager at Dental Express, presents the case for getting involved in implant dentistry

Implant dentistry has been on the rise in the UK for several years. In 2012, the Association of Dental Implantology estimated that as many as 130,000 individual implants were being placed every year (Association of Dental Implantology, 2012). Now, the figure is believed to be almost double that and there seems to be no indication that this growth is slowing down.

Regarded by many practitioners as the best treatment for missing teeth, dental implants have a high success rate and can give patients back decades of healthy function. More comfortable than bridges or dentures – not to mention more stable – they are fast becoming the first port of call for patients who want more natural-looking solutions.

Learning curve

Indeed, the real demand for dental implants is coming from patients, who are far more aware of the opportunities afforded by this treatment modality than they would have been a decade ago. With the accessibility of information on the internet and the focus dental implants have attracted from the media, patients are well armed with knowledge about what they want – and they are more willing to leave their current dentist to find one who can offer them the implants that they want.

As such, it is important for dental professionals to get involved with dental implants. If they do not want to place them in their own practice – since learning to do so can be time consuming – they should reach out to the many implant referral centres around the country.

Alternatively, if they do want to learn how to place implants, they need to choose an appropriate course and hone their skills under the tutelage of a more experienced colleague.

Once they have done so, dental professionals will have to be prepared for the intrinsic challenges of placing dental implants. Without a doubt, the surgery involved requires exacting clinical and surgical skill and a great deal of effort must go into planning every case. Implants in the aesthetic zone are particularly tricky and can lead to failure even if the implant is a few millimetres off.

There is also the problem of peri-implantitis, which is becoming an increasingly common risk for implant patients. Similar to ‘normal’ periodontal disease, peri-implantitis affects the gums around an implant and can lead to implant failure if not treated effectively.

Indeed, it is crucial that dentists who are working with implants are not only fully educated themselves, but they are comfortable explaining implant treatments to their patients.

Implant care

Many people believe that an implant is an indestructible replacement for their natural teeth – but it is still important to maintain a good oral health regime with implants.

This is something that dentists also need to learn if they do not want to run into problems.

This ties into the increasing threat of litigation against dentists, which the profession has witnessed over the last several years. Many cases that arise are focused on poorly placed dental implants that have failed and caused further complications. As a result, it is crucial that dentists ensure they know precisely what they are doing at all times and, if they are unsure, that they have an experienced colleague who can offer them assistance.

To overcome such challenges, practitioners must use an implant system that a) they are comfortable using, and b) can offer exceptional results. There are many different options available and, ultimately, it comes down to personal preference when choosing which system to use – but practitioners should also take into consideration all of the pros and cons of each implant system and be aware of the research that has been conducted to support the one they are considering.

This way, when they come to place implants, they can have complete peace of mind that the components they are using are of the highest clinical quality.

Dental Express (a trading division of Surgery Express) is the exclusive UK supplier of TBR implants. The advanced Z1 system is the world’s only zirconia collar-titanium body tissue level implant, offering practitioners many clinical benefits, including the effective stabilisation of soft tissues and perfect osseointegration.

Implant dentistry is one of the fastest developing sectors of the sector – and is facing an unprecedented demand from patients that is putting pressure on practitioners to adapt and improve. To stay ahead of the curve – and to turn implant dentistry into a financially viable option in your practice – be sure to invest in the best implant systems available.