Exposing implant dentistry myths

According to Louis Malcmacher, DDS, MAGD, every dentist can and should be an implant dentist. Don't let these myths about implant dentistry hold you back from pursuing training.

According to Louis Malcmacher, DDS, MAGD, every dentist can and should be an implant dentist. Don't let these myths about implant dentistry hold you back from pursuing training.

Implant dentistry is one of the most underused therapies, but it has a big potential patient market in North America. Some myths associated with implant dentistry prevent general dentists from looking seriously at adding it to their practices. By exposing these common myths, I hope this article will motivate you to get training for the surgical placement of dental implants.

Myth No. 1: Only specialists should place dental implants.

This is the most outrageous myth, and unfortunately, many general dentists believe it. Worldwide, 80% to 90% of general dentists place implants surgically, but only 10% to 15% do in North America.1 I can tell you the American Academy of Facial Esthetics (AAFE) implant faculty are general dentists who routinely place more dental implants than most specialists. The average oral surgeon or periodontist places 200 implants per year, while the average AAFE implant faculty member places 350 dental implants per year. Some faculty members place as many as 600 dental implants per year, and one even places over 1,000 implants per year. This myth is easy to bust; every general dentist has the skills and can learn how to place dental implants successfully.

Myth No. 2: Patients don't need implants.

Approximately 180 million adult patients in the United States have lost at least one tooth, and more than 40 million adults are completely edentulous.1 For these patients, the only limitation to getting dental implants is the lack of dentists who provide this therapy at an affordable price.

Myth No. 3: Expensive technology is necessary for placing dental implants.

This is total nonsense, as many dental implants are placed every single year without the use of CBCT or guided surgery. Guided surgery is needed for complex cases and significantly raises the treatment cost, which drives down patient acceptance, but the bulk of dental implants placed are single-unit cases in safe anatomical areas in healthy patients with good bone. Dentists need to learn AAFE-exclusive "brain-guided" dental implant surgery techniques to accomplish these straightforward cases, which are typically easier to perform than a molar endo or crown.

Myth No. 4: Dental implant education is long and expensive.

There is absolutely no reason for dental implant education to be so costly that you can't begin placing Level-I dental implants today. If you can remove a tooth from bone, you already possess much of the knowledge and skill needed to place a Level-I dental implant. In most cases, removing a tooth creates more trauma than surgically placing a dental implant.

Myth No. 5: Dental implants are a multidisciplinary therapy.

This is not a myth by itself, but the implication is that only implant dentistry is multidisciplinary. Dental implants are nothing special; all dentistry is always multidisciplinary. See my article from the November 2015 issue of Dental Economics for more on this myth.

Myth No. 6: Implant education and parts are expensive.

It seems like everything associated with dental implants is expensive-from the education to the cost of the implant, associated parts, surgical kits, and implant motors. The AAFE has busted this myth by working with STATDDS to make the initial investment less than $7,500. Alternatively, dentists can get started with no money down for full education and product packages for a price as low as $399 per month. This allows dentists to start placing dental implants while preserving their capital and income while they produce dentistry. This is a first in dentistry and gives dentists the opportunity to get started immediately with implants.

We need to resist the myths that only an elite group of dentists can place dental implants. For implant education, the AAFE is using the same proven formula it uses for its Botox, dermal filler, TMJ, and dental sleep training. Learn Level-I basic surgical and prosthetic cases first, place some simple implants, grow in your experience, stay within your training and refer out what is beyond your expertise, and then move on to Level II, Level III, and more. Every dentist can and should be an implant dentist. You can do this!

Reference

1. Dental Implants Facts and Figures. American Academy of Implant Dentistry website. http://www.aaid.com/about/press_room/dental_implants_faq.html.


Louis Malcmacher, DDS, MAGD, is a practicing general dentist and an internationally known lecturer and author. Dr. Malcmacher is the president of the American Academy of Facial Esthetics (AAFE) and a consultant for STATDDS. You can contact him at (800) 952-0521 or drlouis@facialesthetics.org. You can also visit FacialEsthetics.org to download his resource list, sign up for a free monthly newsletter, or find information about live-patient frontline TMJ/orofacial pain, Botox and dermal fillers training, dental implant training, frontline bruxism therapy and dental sleep medicine, and medical insurance.

To read Dr. Malcmacher's article from the November 2015 issue, visit DentalEconomics.com and search for "Dental implants are nothing special."

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