Dental Implants: Never Stop Questioning
As dental offices reopen around the country, clinicians are focused on the many critical issues associated with the COVID-19 disruption. Infection control, PPE utilization, aerosol containment, post-pandemic workflows, and teledentistry are some of the numerous hot topics consuming practitioners during this crucial back-to-work phase.
At the same time, however, clinicians also need to start concentrating again on the day-to-day performance of dental procedures. For many practitioners, this includes the planning and placement of implants. Thus, as we do each year at this time, Compendium is publishing its annual special thematic issue on implant dentistry.
The goal of an evidence-based approach to the evaluation, planning, and treatment of patients receiving dental implant therapies is long-term functional and esthetic improvement. When asked to be the guest editor for this issue on dental implants, I (Dr. Orentlicher) thought it would be interesting to develop it around the idea of seeking answers to controversial questions that implant dentists and specialists may find confusing due to the multitude of solutions available without definitive results. Considerable marketing rhetoric only adds to the perplexity.
Articles written by well-known experts in the field of implant dentistry attempt to provide substantive answers to much-debated questions. The editorial lineup covers a range of "Q&A" subjects, including our two continuing education articles, which ask, "Is a fully digital dental implant treatment solution really possible in 2020?" and "Are nongrafting solutions viable for implant treatment in limited bone volume?" We also tackle the subject of peri-implantitis, with a clinical article that asks how clinicians can limit the risk of this disease and another that inquires about how to effectively treat it. Another article discusses immediate loading and whether implant surface and thread design are more important than osteotomy preparation. An "Online Only" literature review asks, "Do implant width and length really matter?" In our roundtable discussion, the participants ponder why dentistry has resisted the widespread adoption of computer-assisted implant surgery.
There are no simple answers to these thought-provoking questions. Medicine and dentistry are both an art and a science. As modern implant dentistry enters its fifth decade, and the number of patients treated with these medical devices increases, it seems there are only more, not less, questions that need to be answered. The artist and scientist in each of us should never stop questioning and seeking answers. Our patients deserve no less.
Louis F. Rose, DDS, MD
Gary Orentlicher, DMD