Rather than highlighting their beautiful, esthetic cases, they gave attendees a peek at the cases that didn?t necessarily end all that well. The hard truth is that 10% of implants fail 5 to 10 years after placement. Dentists placing implants need to be aware of that and the accompanying risk factors: poor oral hygiene, a history of periodontitis, cigarette smoking, diabetes with poor metabolic control, alcohol consumption, and genetic traits.
The speakers then added one more risk factor to the list: retained cement, which can lead to bone loss. The discussion around cement was really enlightening?even for a non-dentist like me. Apparently there is no standard application technique; some dentists use gross application (filling the crown with cement), others use a brush to apply cement to the inside of the crown, while others limit placement to the rim of the crown. To ensure there is no retained cement, it?s incredibly important that the material be radiopaque. If it?s not, when you check for retained cement with an x-ray, you?re not going to see it. The presenters showed the attendees many examples of cements (some that are specific to implants) that are not radiopaque.
The speakers addressed some other issues that they feel have an impact on implant success: pushing the envelope with regard to surgery standards, promoting esthetics over health, and abutment design. They emphasized clear communication with patients regarding what they can expect with implants, including the need for long-term maintenance care--which may require more than the standard two dental visits a year--and proper at-home oral hygiene. According to one survey cited during the lecture, many implant patients said they were ?afraid to brush their teeth.? Patients should be thoroughly educated about how to care for their implants at home, including the proper tools to use.
As a non-dentist, I was fascinated by everything I learned during the lecture, and that was mirrored in my conversations over lunch with the real dentists in attendance. They clearly found the morning session educational and informative. They were also impressed that Nobel Biocare was willing to sponsor an educational event that pointed out some of the failings in implant and abutment designs and where improvements can be made.
These kinds of events top the list of what I like best about my job. The quality of the speakers and information was incredibly high and the opportunity to chat with dental professionals is always enlightening. My bottom line take away from this event? Implants are not teeth and they should not be treated the same?by dental professionals, manufacturers, or patients. I would guess that was true for many of the dentists and hygienists as well.