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Critical Pathways in Dental Implant Therapy
We have seen an evolution in the use of medical devices to replace everything from missing structures, to degenerated joints, to deficient organs, allowing patients to lead healthier, more active lives. Dental implants have experienced a similar progressive development as an increasing number of patients are being treated with these medical devices to replace one tooth or an entire dentition. Despite advances in technologies, however, there are essential critical pathways that require strict adherence in order to reach a successful outcome.
For this annual edition of Compendium on implant dentistry, we have assembled a group of periodontists, prosthodontists, dentists, and biomechanical engineers in an effort to identify those critical elements and further the team approach. None of these outstanding clinicians and scientists "go it alone." By working as a team, with each member focused on his or her area of expertise, risks are minimized, successful outcomes are easier and more predictable to achieve, and the patient ultimately benefits.
Dental care, once sought after for relief of pain and infection due either to decay or periodontitis, has joined the age of regenerative medicine. Our aging population, while expressing a strong desire to live fuller, more active lives, is a demographic that is living longer with more chronic disease taking more medications than ever before. Yet, they seek full function, health, and esthetics. Dentistry has an important role to play in the lives of even these high-risk and complex patients, and for many, implant reconstruction provides a second chance for a high quality of life.
Through this special issue we bring the biomechanical, surgical, and restorative components together as we examine what we can achieve now and how we can use our current knowledge to guide us toward an ever-expanding future of treatment options. One thing remains constant: the patient is the center of the team. All those involved in the care of patients have the privilege to serve their physical and emotional health needs in this age of regenerative medicine and dentistry.
Louis F. Rose, DDS, MD
Donald S. Clem, III, DDS