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CLINICAL ENVIOUS OF OUR PRACTICE? My Techniques for Patient Acceptance of Dental Implant Procedures by Timothy Kosinski, DDS, MAGD A referring dentist called my treatment coordinator recently and made a comment to her that I thought was both complimentary but also insightful. I want to share here the process I and my team go through in our creation of a successful dental implant practice. He said that he was, “envious of our practice and the way we educated our patients, how we treated them and how we made the process of implant dentistry rather seamless.” This got me to thinking about what we do to get patients to accept treatment and leave our practice satisfied, which leads to promoting us to their family and friends, and referring dentists. Many things have changed over my 33 years of practice in the field of implant dentistry. When I first started, being mentored by a prominent implant dentist in our community, implants were rather special. Many called them “experimental.” The processes were rather complicated and required a certain amount of clinical skill. I was trained to visualize the case finished before I ever start, but this is certainly an art that is achieved over 56 TPD | SUMMER 2018 time and with experience. This has been my mantra during my entire dental implant career. Patients came to us to restore missing teeth, to stabilize a removable denture or partial or somehow improve their quality of life with better function and esthetics. There was vague understanding of dental implant procedures. Several items have changed implant dentistry over the years. First the Internet provides a space for patients to get information about the benefits and risks of dental implants. The information provided there is often not completely correct, but it does get the patient to come to our offices with questions. It is common for someone to Google search, “missing tooth, tooth hurts, I hate my partial, my denture is loose.” What comes up in this engine search is DENTAL IMPLANTS. Information is all over the Internet today. It is our job as professionals to educate and instruct our patients on the benefits and risks of this type of treatment. To provide this service we must educate ourselves to a high degree. There is much more to implant placement then simply drilling a hole in the bone and threading in a screw. As general dentists, we certainly are the gate keepers of our patient’s oral health. We often see dental problems that need to be addressed, such as non- restorable or missing teeth. Our patients trust us and want us to provide the proper treatment for them, and skip the referral to a specialist. My suggestion is always to continue our education. I am a big advocate of the Academy of General Dentistry and the outstanding educational programs they provide. Many of these courses are not only lecture-based, but hands-on participation courses. There are also several high-quality dental implant training programs available, including the Engel Institute dental implant training program held in Charlotte, NC and Detroit. This program specifically introduces the dentist to the “recipe” to achieve predictable functional and esthetic results using dental implants, while advocating knowing our limits in treatment. The training course provides actual patients where the attendees will place implants under a strict protocol under direct supervision of one of the mentor dentists. What a wonderful way to learn!