Incorporating dental implants into your practice is such a strategy. I’m not suggesting that all general dentists need to be surgically placing dental implants, but they should be at least referring them out to a specialist. Among recent advancements in dentistry, especially over the past couple of decades, implant dentistry presents the most dramatic gain for both your practice and your patients.
Patients deserve the treatment that will benefit them the most, and so does your practice. With implants, patients gain from both esthetic and health perspectives, and your practice from a financial perspective. It is my belief that all edentulous patients should be evaluated for dental implants, and all dentists should evaluate incorporating dental implants into the practice. Professor G. Krekeler of the University of Freiburg, Germany, states: “These days, it is impossible to conceive of dentistry without dental implants.”
For many clinicians, conventional crown and bridge dentistry has been the most profitable area for their practice. If we take a close look at the treatment options and methods available, is this the most beneficial option for the patient and the practice? Patients don’t come to dental offices looking for bridges—they come looking for solutions to their current dental problems. In our society, good health and pleasant appearance have increased in importance. Your patients want beautiful smiles and they want to be able to chew their food. What options address both needs? Many options provide a solution but which provides the best solution? The answer is simple: dental implants provide patients with the most natural looking and functioning replacement teeth available today, and your practice benefits from growth.
“If dental implants are so good for my practice, why isn’t every dentist making use of them?”
Consider, too, another very important benefit for your patients. Nutrition and diet play an integral part of everyone’s well being. As you are well aware, there is a big difference in food selection between patient who have all their own teeth and patients who are partially or fully edentulous. Food selection may play an important role in vitamin, mineral, fiber, and protein deficiencies. Studies show that diet can be associated with colon cancer and cardiovascular disease. Yet another reason to incorporate dental implants into your practice, and I haven’t even touched on the social implications of missing teeth.
Last but not least, what can dental implants do for your practice? Studies have shown that a typical 40-hour workweek with conventional crown-and-bridge dentistry can be done in 16 hours or less with implant dentistry (restorations only). How is this possible? Let’s take a look at some industry numbers first. There are over 100 million people in the U.S. who are missing one or more of their teeth, yet 60% of dentists do not deal with dental implants. Currently, only 5% of all tooth replacements are done with dental implants. You may be asking yourself, “If dental implants are so good for my practice, why isn’t every dentist making use of them?” One reason is that there is currently limited patient awareness, but is it growing each year. More and more clinicians are getting involved with implants every year, and the dental implant market is growing from 15% to 17% annually.
Implants, like other modalities within dentistry, rely on communication, teamwork, and a new way of thinking. It is important that the entire dental team is involved and understands dental implants. If a patient is given all the alternative options, and fully understands the advantages of implants, why wouldn’t he or she choose an implant? Industry surveys show that over 75% of patients with thorough education and explanation would choose dental implants over other options regardless of the cost. Also, patients with implant supported dentures report much greater satisfaction than those with conventional dentures.
Today, success rates for dental implants are between 95% and 98%. Implant- supported dentures will outlast a conventional denture—another benefit to the patient. Implant systems have come a long way—now is the time to consider incorporating them into your practice. Dental implants are truly a win-win situation for both you and your patients.
R&H Dental Solutions, Inc., based in Boca Raton, Florida, provides consulting services to dentists and dental laboratories (561-353-0325). For information on Camlog implants, call 877-537-8862.