Tim Bradstock-Smith from The London Smile Clinic shares his thoughts on the increasingly popular field of implant surgery and how dental referrals can help you and your practice...
Although traditional dentures still have a place, implant surgery is fast becoming an indispensible part of mainstream dentistry. Global forecasts suggest that Europe will continue to drive and dominate the area of dental implants and prosthetics until at least 2018. What’s more, the current economic recovery is likely to see a further push and market expansion.
Successful restoration for an edentulous patient takes both functional and psychosocial adaptation, but their self-confidence is significantly enhanced by their resulting satisfaction with comfort, function, appearance and health. When compared to conventional complete dentures, data has provided scientific evidence of an improved quality of life after dental implant therapy. Implants are much more convenient for patients and offer improved appearance, looking and feeling like natural teeth. Additionally, patients with positive self-esteem have been shown to experience significantly fewer physical health symptoms and some researchers have gone so far as to suggest that the larger your smile, the longer you may live. Whichever way you look at it, successful smile restoration has both physical and psychological benefits for patients.
The medical advantages of implants are that they help to prevent bone loss and actually stimulate growth to maintain the structure of the face. Also, well-maintained implants placed into adequate bone can be expected to last for many years.
Replacing or restoring missing or damaged teeth with virtually undetectable implants can be a complex procedure. However, it can be extremely rewarding for dentists who are able to not only produce a beautiful smile, but also raise patient self-esteem and confidence.
Successful implant surgery requires considerable attention to detail, outstanding accuracy and a comprehensive set of surgical skills acquired through on-going training and experience. Specialist technology and imaging is also needed to plan and execute implant treatment meticulously, ensuring optimal placement.
One clinician or indeed one practice may not have all the technology, space or the surgical skills required to provide the scope of treatment necessary for all implant surgery, particularly if a practice already provides specialist treatment in an alternative field of dentistry. Equally the patient demographics of the area may not make it financially worthwhile to support this provision. In addition, the training and education clinicians require to place implants successfully takes a significant amount of time as well as expense and often, if this knowledge is not used regularly, it is difficult for practitioners to maintain the skills required to achieve high quality work.
Even when a clinician is qualified to undertake implant surgery, there are still cases that require more specialist surgical skills with treatment sites that require advanced preparation or enhancement before implant surgery can take place. Some cases will require socket augmentation procedures, for example, or advanced regenerative procedures such as guided bone regeneration, bone condensation, ridge splitting, particulate grafting, autogenous block grafting, sinus augmentation, connective tissue grafting and further special methods such as inferior dental nerve lateralisation and distraction osteogenesis.
However, successful implant surgery can be still be delivered by suitably experienced clinicians or specialists in a team approach.
A centre of excellence such as London Smile Clinic provides a referral service to practitioners to undertake implant procedures on their behalf. Dr Zaki Kanaan is a highly trained implantologist, who will work closely with you to form a team, ensuring the best possible results for your patients. Whether you wish to refer more complex cases to Zaki or just refer out part of the overall treatment, the team at London Smile Clinic will keep you informed throughout the procedure. The patient will then return to you for continued treatment or on-going maintenance and care. London Smile Clinic prides itself on delivering a 5 star service and first class dentistry, and referring dentists can be confident that their patients will be in safe hands.
Keeping up in an ever-advancing industry can be both expensive and problematic. Equally, patient expectations are now much more forward thinking with an increase in people wishing to undertake corrective or cosmetic procedures. It is not always possible to provide all services individually but by making use of the technology, facilities and skills offered by referral practices, it is possible to extend your areas of expertise and professionalism to enhance your treatment provision. In doing so, patient satisfaction and confidence is improved and as a result, these patients will return to your practice time and time again.
For more information, please contact 020 7255 2559 or
 Millennium Research Group (MRG), the global authority on medical technology market intelligence - http://mrg.net/News-and-Events/Press-Releases/European-Markets-for-Dental-Implants-072811.aspx#sthash.GPLy1315.dpuf [Accessed 11th February 2015]
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