Prepared for implant dentistry – Dr Nik SisodiaFeatured Products Promotional Features
Posted by: The Probe 17th March 2019
Dental implant treatment can provide patients with a predictable way to restore their smiles, thus improving dental function, aesthetics, and psychological wellbeing. As implants boast high success rates of up to 98% in most cases, many patients are now choosing to undergo implant surgery, rather than opt for alternative solutions such as a removable dental bridge or denture.[i]Of course, as the demand for implants continues to grow, so does the endless list of patient expectations, which might not always be realistic.
According to Dental Protection, this is just one of many factors influencing the rise in the number of legal claims involving implant treatment in the last two decades.[ii]These claims are not only increasing in number and frequency, but also in cost. Of the 311 claims for implant treatment received in 2015 by the Dental Defence Union (DDU), 115 were settled for a total of nearly £4 million in compensation and legal costs.[iii]Evidently, compensation for implant cases can be significantly more costly than other dental treatments, as a result of the substantial ongoing expenditure involved with addressing post-surgical complications.
In order to ensure the delivery of implants is safe and effective, practitioners need to be aware of the risks, take steps to minimise them, and explain possible complications to patients in advance of treatment. By making a patient aware that additional procedures might be required, or if there is a risk of compromised outcomes, practitioners can ensure patients’ expectations are managed. This involves being prepared for the delivery of treatment from the very beginning.
Training is the key to success
Many short courses – such as those run by manufacturers or distributors of implants – are important to the training process, particularly in order for practitioners to understand the various features of specific implant systems. However, these courses can not always replace more comprehensive training pathways that tend to go into further depth, exploring effective techniques which are supported by clinical evidence. Some courses cover the basics of implant treatment, but might not detail the many different limitations and risks of treatment. In addition, these courses may not provide the practical experience necessary to ensure practitioners can deliver treatment confidently.
There are benefits for practitioners who seek out formal courses that offer structured training over an extended period of time and are led by distinguished experts in the field. These courses require time, effort and commitment, and generally involve a lot of study. Ideally, implant training will conclude through some form of examination that enables practitioners to demonstrate they have acquired the essential knowledge and skills to competently carry out implant procedures. For instance, practitioners can take advantage of the opportunity to practise implant dentistry under both direct and indirect supervision from a mentor, who will be readily available to offer help if needed.
The right tools for the job
Having the correct instruments and equipment to carry out implant dentistry safely and successfully is essential. Good chairside facilities and efficient dental nursing support are also beneficial. For those regularly placing implants – or who aim to do so in the near future – it might be worth investing in the latest imaging systems, which can be used during diagnostic procedures to illustrate whether a patient has adequate bone quality and quantity for implants, for example. Moreover, practitioners should ensure they are using only the most effective, tried-and-tested implant systems. Reducing cost for patients by cutting corners will not only result in substandard treatment, but could also cost you in legal fees in the future if a claim is brought against you.
Seek advice and guidance
Implant treatment can be complex, particularly as some cases may require a multidisciplinary approach to ensure a highly satisfactory result. If you are ever unsure of how best to proceed with an implant patient, then always be prepared to seek advice and guidance from an experienced implantologist, who might be able to offer valuable insight to help you deliver the safest, most effective treatment. In some instances, of course, treatment may be beyond your professional remit. If you want to ensure you can still offer implant treatment to patients, then it is worth referring to a trusted team of clinicians such as those at Ten Dental Facial. The award-winning team can provide the highest level of surgical care for patients and ensure you remain integral to the referral process.
As with many other dental procedures, dental implant treatment is not without risks and if something goes wrong, then it can quickly escalate into a claim being brought forward. Practitioners are responsible for ensuring they are trained appropriately and have the facilities to provide treatment, in order to ensure patients’ expectations are met and the risk of litigation is minimised.
For more information, visit www.tendental.comor call 020 33932623
[i]WebMD. (2018) Dental Implants. Link:https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-implants#1. [Last accessed: 06.08.18].
[ii]Dental Protection. (2015) Riskwise: Dental implant feature. Link: https://www.dentalprotection.org/docs/librariesprovider4/default-document-library/riskwise-uk.pdf?sfvrsn=0. [Last accessed: 06.08.18].
[iii]Dental Defence Union. (2015) Closing the gap. Link: https://ddujournal.theddu.com/issue-archive/issue-1/closing-the-gap. [Last accessed: 06.08.18].