How implants changed my practice

I placed my first implant using the Galileos in May 2011. The second implant case that I did using the Galileos was a live demo surgery in Boston in front of 700 doctors.

by Dr. Gene Messenger

I placed my first implant using the Galileos in May 2011. The second implant case that I did using the Galileos was a live demo surgery in Boston in front of 700 doctors. Prior to this, I was afraid to place implants. That fear is what keeps dentists from taking the first step.

My practice is in a small New England town of about 13,000 people. If you make a name for yourself and set yourself apart, it doesn't make a difference where you practice, and Galileos has allowed me to do this. Within 19 months of purchasing 3-D imaging (Galileos by Sirona) I moved my practice to a larger building, expanded my operatories from seven to 12, and increased my staff from eight to 15 people.

If you had asked me 22 years ago when I graduated from dental school if I would ever place an implant, I would have said, "ABSOLUTELY NOT!" If you had asked me five years ago if I would ever place an implant, I would have said, "ABSOLUTELY NOT!" After much encouragement from Dr. Gordon Christensen, who felt that general practitioners should be placing implants, I have placed approximately 250 implants in the last two-and-a-half years. Patients come in and I can wow them with my 3-D imaging and my 96% success rate. My treatment acceptance is incredibly high. My patients can see my excitement when I do a scan, drag the implant over, and show them where it is going to be and what it is going to look like. They say, "I didn't know you could do that!" I can get them excited about their treatment so that the cost, which is usually their first priority, becomes secondary to their desire to do the recommended treatment. They want to do implants, and they want to have them done in my office.

The Galileos gives me the opportunity to position and align the implants in the bone. More importantly, it also allows the influence of occlusion to be considered before the implant is even placed. I can let the crown determine where the implant will be inserted, which means the patient not only has a stable implant, but an implant that will also function with the existing occlusion. Predictability! Implant placement is incredibly predictable due to the computer-guided surgery; it is even easier than doing an anterior root canal. I am able to use the integration of CEREC and Galileos to fabricate my own surgical guides, custom abutments, and crowns -- all of which further increases my financial freedom. An additional benefit is pathology that would not normally be recognized can be identified, diagnosed, and treated.

I have really enjoyed dentistry over the last 22 years, mainly because of all of my high-tech gadgets, which make everything I do easier and more precise. I purchased my first CEREC unit 15 years ago as the first phase of my technological development. The second phase of this development was integrating my Galileos. The combination of these two was life-changing for me. It is the difference between struggling to place implants and placing them with ease and accuracy.

It is emotionally and financially fulfilling beyond anything I could have imagined. The satisfaction of knowing that I can provide the best dentistry that can be done for my patients is an amazing feeling. Every time I do an implant, I get as excited as I did when I saw my first patient out of dental school. The placing of implants has taken my practice to a level I never would have dreamed possible.

Dr. Gene Messenger graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1991. He is a member of the ADA, MDS, BDDS, International College of Oral Implantologists, World Clinical Laser Institute, and a past vice president of the Academy of CAD/CAM Dentistry. He is a CEREC mentor/trainer and beta tester for Sirona. Contact him at drgene1@mac.com.

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