Surprisingly this is a question I’ve asked myself countless times throughout my career. I think the simple answer to that is that no one is finished in their development.
Anyone with an interest in dentistry who has gained basic levels of skills in general dental practice can plan towards an implant dentistry career if they are sensible and honest about the level from which they begin.
To place implants surgically takes a degree of basic surgical skills, which have to be taught and practised, reflected upon and mastered but this can be directed in any individual practitioner and no one was born with the skills to place dental implants.
The right attitude
To have a degree of intellectual honesty, which means that you will reflect on your own practice to see whether you have the skills necessary to place dental implants, is the first step. Added to this, experience of a mentor and guiding hand and people can be led through the process of what is required to become good at implant dentistry, even if they’re starting from absolute zero. The correct attitude to this is the most important attribute.
Obviously someone with a strong surgical background will be further ahead than someone without but the person without may have more restorative understanding and assessing individual skills is essential in properly planning implant education – one size does not fit all. Seeking out courses and providers who understand this and who are happy to provide bespoke arrangements for individual delegates to improve their practice to a level they are happy with is essential in the overall planning of a development process.
To be an ‘all rounder’ in implant dentistry requires an exceptional understanding of surgery and an exceptional understanding of restorative dentistry, together with skills in communication, patient selection, practice marketing and learning from failure and reflection. All of these things though can be taught and learned in the right environment, with the right people. Selecting the provider for your educational pathway, someone who can walk with you hand in hand through the process of becoming an implant dentist, is an essential first step towards a journey into the promised land of implant dentistry.