Inside Dentistry
September 2008
Volume 4, Issue 8

From the Editor

Gerard Kugel, DMD, MS, PhD

Dear Readers,

In keeping with our agenda this year of addressing topics that elicit strong feelings from our readers and interviewees alike, this month Inside Dentistry tackles another topic that has been the subject of some confusion among different dental practitioners. When it comes to the immediate loading of dental implants, it’s time to try to separate the fact from the fiction. We hope we’ve done that with this issue’s cover feature.

Review Your Resources. In addition to our journal, it’s important that you explore the vast array of literature—from case reports emphasizing techniques to longitudinal studies that examine predictability—in order to ascertain whether or not immediate loading of dental implants is right for you, your practice, and your patients. Doing so provides a foundation of knowledge and education, as well as updates you about new products and materials that can be incorporated into clinical practice. Of course, it’s always important to scrutinize the sources of the information, but staying abreast of current clinical techniques is part of our continuing educational processes.

Consider the Possibilities. As my colleagues have suggested in this month’s feature about the myths and realities of immediate loading of dental implants, the people who really help our profession evolve are those who step out and do things that are progressive yet based on some scientific evidence. Unfortunately, sometimes our inhibitions prevent us from expanding our skill set. What’s more, self-limiting professional views about who should do what and when may not benefit everybody—especially patients. Dentistry needs professionals willing to broaden their expertise based on training and education.

Apply What You’ve Learned, But Use Your Judgment. Some professionals are very good students of new techniques and the application of new technologies. They learn things rapidly and develop clinical and technical proficiencies quickly. Others may be slower to learn or embrace these new technologies. Implant placement inherently requires skills in a variety of areas, not the least of which is the surgical aspect. The only way to enhance those skills is through experience and re-evaluation. Working with a skilled mentor, university, or institute can be beneficial in this regard.

Evolving Efficiency. The introduction and enhancement of technologies designed to make implant procedures more predictable have been applied to immediate loading scenarios. As a result, with careful diagnosis and treatment planning, those who are skilled and experienced in this treatment modality can provide colleagues and patients with this service in a more efficient and predictable manner. In my own practice I have had success with immediate temporization of implants, but only after careful treatment planning and good communication with my surgeon.

We hope you enjoy this issue and find that it helps you distinguish the myths from the realities when you examine publications or lecture topics related to the immediate loading of dental implants. We also hope that it enables you to better understand what’s involved in the immediate loading process so that you can knowledgeably discuss this treatment procedure with your patients for whom it might be a consideration. Please send us your feedback to letters@insidedentistry.net. As I emphasize each month, your thoughts, opinions, and reactions motivate us to continually improve our clinical content and coverage of the topics impacting our profession. Thank you for reading and for your continued support.

With warm regards,

Gerard Kugel, DMD, MS, PhD
Associate Dean for Research
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

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