Developing skills in dental implants is not only critical for clinicians specialising in prosthodontics, periodontics, restorative dentistry and oral surgery, but also is becoming a greater part of general dental practice.
Nowadays, patients are more discerning about their oral health and often want advanced dental procedures. Patient satisfaction from well-executed treatment is very high and this is the best part of practising implant dentistry. In the right case, implant treatment can provide many years of service with a relatively low complication rate. Ultimately, happy patients lead to happy dentists.
Being involved in a new field of any profession is exciting and rewarding – this is especially true for implants with its unique blend of prosthodontic and surgical aspects of dentistry.
With experience, the chance to become involved in education may arise. This adds variety to our jobs, helps us make new friends and keeps you up to date. It also gives you an excuse to travel abroad for conferences.
The initial challenge that anyone will face is choosing the right postgraduate training. To be proficient in implant treatment you would ideally need a sound understanding and ability in both prosthodontics and oral surgery. If you want to focus on just one aspect, say implant-placement surgery, you have to work in a wider team, with restorative dentists. It is important, therefore, to think about where you will be practising so you can do the most appropriate postgraduate education.
If you want to become a specialist, for example in prosthodontics, implant treatment will be a part of your curriculum because it will enable you to treat the more complex cases. But this pathway needs a significant financial and time commitment.
If you want to offer implants in general practice, there are many more routes available. But there is much variation in the content and quality of training. Consider a university diploma or certificate course. These are likely to be externally vetted so will have stringent quality control. Choosing an institution that also has in-house clinical facilities is a must so you can develop your skills under the guidance of experienced clinicians. Speak to current and past students of any course that you are considering to find out if it will meet your needs. Implant-related litigation has significantly increased. Most issues are related to consent, planning and treatment execution. Appropriate training should, however, reduce the risk of this.