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Most current practicing dentists — specialist and generalist — did not learn about implant surgery in their training or residency. It is important for anyone learning about implant surgery to have a supervised training program during their learning curve. This is necessary for both specialists and general dentists. Several programs are available to extend the training of the profession in a supervised, hands-on experience. Several dental schools and private institutes offer the same program for both specialists and generalists. For example, the Misch Implant Institute (cosponsored by Temple Dental School) has trained graduate residents from periodontics, oral surgery, endodontics, and prosthodontic programs in the fundamental and advanced concepts of implant surgery and bone grafting. This same program has trained more than 2,500 general dentists during the last 25 years.
Do not begin your implant surgical training by going to an implant meeting with 50 different lecturers, each presenting for 30 to 45 minutes. Each person shows his or her best cases, and very little knowledge is gained for the beginner in the field. The scientific material presented at these meetings is designed for experienced colleagues, who can separate the wheat from the chaff. Do not take an implant manufacturer”s one-day course. It is designed to sell you a product. These courses are best for experienced dentists who are changing the implant system they use and take manufacturers” courses to understand the subtle differences in one product compared to another.
Do get involved. Do take a structured course over an extended period. I suggest a program where one person does most of the lectures, in order to provide a consistent approach. When you first learn to cook, and you hear one person, you learn about a particular cuisine and style that works. If you are a beginner and hear one person talk about Chinese food, the next person presents Italian, the next person explains French cuisine, and the next person, Mexican — all in three days — you still can”t cook a meal.