When patients come to us for a diagnosis, recommendations, and needed dental treatment, they are in a vulnerable position. They want the best advice as they navigate the decisions that affect their future dental health.
The topic of this month’s Implants Today introduction is arguably the most important one in implant dentistry. In the goal of providing the most successful outcome possible, treatment planning is where it all starts. I asked 2 good friends and mentors of mine who are members of the Implants Today Advisory Board to offer their opinions on this topic. Dr. Craig Misch is one of the few dual specialists—board certified in oral and maxillofacial surgery and also a specialist in prosthodontics. Dr. Scott Ganz completed a 3-year specialty program in maxillofacial prosthetics at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and is considered one of the world’s leading experts in the field of computer utilization for diagnostic 3-D imaging, CBCT, CAD/CAM, and treatment planning applications in dentistry.
I believe that the resulting interview contains benchmark information on the topic of treatment planning for implants. Craig and Scott collaborated to provide a consensus of crucial information that shares their collective experience and advice. Hopefully, this will be useful to our clinician readers who have the formidable challenge of replacing missing or failing teeth with implants and doing what Craig’s brother, the late Dr. Carl Misch, used to say is “replacing millions of years of evolution.” The points they eloquently stress regarding treatment planning include medical history considerations, including pharmacological aspects and diagnosis of existing medical conditions; the importance of clinical diagnosis using the latest radiology; CT documentation and photographic techniques; the importance of patient dialogue about what they want as a final result; the latest technologies in bone grafting and implant stability that measure implant success; and the ability to present and discuss available treatment options to the patient to develop an appropriate plan.
One of the most important areas that is addressed in this interview is the topic of when to save questionable teeth. As the 75 million baby boomers in the United States age, so do their teeth and any previously delivered dental work. And the reality is that many of our patients are taking medications that cause xerostomia, and this only complicates the decision-making process in treatment planning. There are more than 500 medications that can cause a patient to have xerostomia as a side effect!
When patients come to us for a diagnosis, recommendations, and needed dental treatment, they are in a vulnerable position. They want the best advice as they navigate the decisions that affect their future dental health. The decisions that clinicians help them make can affect many areas of their life and overall health, including psychological and financial impacts. Unless a clinician is up-to-date on the available technologies that can be so critical to all levels of dental implant treatment planning and clinical protocols, the correct advice for a patient cannot be given.
If you have any questions or comments about this topic, or any other subject presented in Implants Today, feel free to contact Dr. Tischler at firstname.lastname@example.org.