High quality implant dentistry is like the art and science of building a bridge. You start with a foundation based on science, followed by detailed planning and precise surgical skills, completed by a unique, esthetic, restorative design. And just like the bridge, implant dentistry helps overcome obstacles and create opportunities—to enjoy life again.
We sat down with three experienced and innovative dental professionals—Lyndon Cooper, Malene Hallund and Martin Wanendeya—to discuss what makes the difference in implant dentistry and their view on evolution, innovation and convenience.
How has evolution had an impact on implant therapy?
Lyndon Cooper: Innovation and evolution drives success in implant therapy. Since the beginning of our modern experience with implants, after Dr Brånemark demonstrated how we could successfully achieve osseointegration, we have sought to improve and expand care. Great examples are the introduction of a rough surface and the conical designed interface between the implants and the abutment. These are examples of how innovation has changed quality of care. We see better soft tissue responses because of a more robust interface, the absence of screw loosening is remarkable today compared to two decades ago, and the use of smooth surface implants no longer exist because of the data is so compelling on what we can achieve with rough surface implants. That’s evolution.
Malene Hallund: We as dentists and surgeons are so privileged today when we have the possibility to give our patients the optimal treatment solutions. The patients are able to go from uncertainty to certainty because the science we have today, and the evidence-based treatments, give us the opportunity to give our patients exactly what we were planning for.
How are technical innovations affecting implant dentistry?
Lyndon Cooper: The topic of innovation is really important because it has to touch both the patient and the clinician. We understand from research today that patients really don’t want 17 procedures for a successful treatment. And we continue to strive to make life much simpler both for the patient and the clinician.
Martin Wanendeya: The main benefit of technology is to have the virtual patient in front of you. It allows me to see things before I see the patient for surgery. This means I can plan better. I can communicate that plan better to the technician and also better to the patient. It helps reduce the amount of chair time and patient discomfort. When you plan the surgery in advance you can deliver it a little bit more efficiently for the patient.
Has digital technology changed your way of working?
Malene Hallund: Digital technology is a fantastic tool. We can see the vital structures and we can see the challenges we are going to meet in surgery. So, by planning it, our surgery time becomes less, and it becomes easier for both us as surgeons and the patients.
Martin Wanendeya: In the past we had to go in and open a flap, and we would be guessing what we would see there. Now by being able to see the DICOM data beforehand, we can plan based on that DICOM data. And decide on which particular procedure that is relevant and best, and also going to be the most successful for the patient. We’re able to actually deliver better outcomes with this virtual tool.
Do you see any obstacles for clinicians to go digital?
Lyndon Cooper: It’s really important that the patient can achieve reasonable goals, in reasonable number of visits, over a reasonable period of time. And to achieve those goals the clinician has to take a greater part in planning. But bringing a CT and analytical software, or design software, in their practice, and bringing an abutment design software and an intra oral scanner and that software into a practice, can be quite daunting to a clinician.
Malene Hallund: Going from the analog world to the digital world is kind of a jump. It takes a little time to get into that and get educated in it. But once we are there our workflow gets easier and much more predictable. So, by taking CBCT scan we are able to go through the actual surgery and plan the surgery, plan where the implants will be positioned and also plan the prosthetic part afterwards.
And on the contrary, what are the benefits of digital technology?
Martin Wanendeya: When we first started using digital technology there was an impact in our practice organization. It took us a while to get used to using these new tools. We are used to lab colleagues communicating in particular way, printing out photos and so on. But once we switched over, it allowed us to have a more streamlined approach in terms of what we’re able to deliver to the patient and communicate to the lab using the tools that are available to us digitally.
Lyndon Cooper: Clinicians want to know that all of those technologies, all of those advances, all of that innovation is available to them, without having to spend hours and hours of learning. So, the clinician needs more resources and the patients’ need to have those resources delivered to them, best case in a box.
What will the future in implant dentistry look like?
Martin Wanendeya: Things that you dreamed of happening in the future are being delivered today. Things that you didn’t think was possible, someone, somewhere is working on. So, it is the excitement in this field, the amount of change, the new bits of technology that comes out. What we can deliver for patients with the digital workflow ultimately, I believe, is better.
Malene Hallund: Artificial intelligence will become a natural part of our work life, and we will be able to offer our patients the best of two worlds: the technology of the future and the wisdom and research of the past.
Maxillofacial surgeon, teaching at the University of Copenhagen and partner of Copenhagen Clinic, a specialist referral practice of advanced dentistry oral surgery and implants.
Head of the Department of Oral Biology at University of Illinois in Chicago, USA. Prosthodontist, Scientist and Educator.
Partner at Ten Dental, an interdisciplinary specialist referral practice in Clapham, South London, working with implant and esthetic dentistry.
Watch and listen to Lyndon Cooper, Malene Hallund and Martin Wanendeya at Inspiration TALKS with Dentsply Sirona Implants from EAO 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal.
EAO 2019 took place in Lisbon, Portugal. If you plan to visit this exciting city, read our Lisbon travel guide.