The recent Global Symposium in Madrid saw some of the leading lights of the Nobel Biocare Esthetic Group come together for a lively and engaging panel discussion. The Esthetic Group, formed in 2006, provides female dentists and dental students with tailored education programs, access to Nobel Biocare specialists, and other networking opportunities to help them grow into better, more confident professionals.
The panel was chaired by the renowned Swedish prosthodontist Dr. Nicole Winitsky, who highlighted how the number of female dentists continues to increase in many countries across the world. Here, we share each the panel’s top tips for how you can achieve esthetic implant outcomes in your dental practice.
1. Know what exactly is possible
“We can only mimic nature, not replicate it,” said Dr. Winitsky, who emphasized that clinicians need to consider factors such as age, biotype and bruxism when deciding what kind of treatment to provide and what the expected outcome should be.
In the view of the Dutch implantologist Dr. Edith Groenendijk, patients with high smile lines, for example, can sometimes be a risky proposition since every detail will be visible, leaving less room for mistakes. “Performing immediate implant placement is still doable for patients with high smile ridges, but you must consider the risks,” she said.
So when, exactly, should a clinician undertake an implant procedure? It’s easy, according to Dr. Julie Schlosser, who runs a referral practice in the heart of Copenhagen – “When we can predict that we will be able to put our patient in a better situation than they are already in.”
2. Involve the patient
Dr. Schlosser went on to highlight just how important it is to have open and honest communication with patients to improve compliance. “I like to raise the dental IQ of my patients, to help them understand the importance of recall and understand how to care for an implant,” she said. “This means that we all use the same vocabulary, and the patient’s improved understanding puts them in control.”
Dr. Groenendijk stressed the need for asking patients questions to understand more about their motivations for getting implant treatment. “Every patient has their own story – you need to find that story to know what treatment will be best for them,” she said.
3. Understand your patient’s esthetic wishes
As the Swedish dentist Dr. Mathilda Qvarnström told the audience, different patients may have different esthetic wants and needs, highlighting the trend in Japan for pointier canine teeth as an example. “There are a lot of parameters we need to consider for a smile to be esthetic – smile design, symmetry, biomimetics and so on – but we should prioritize what the patient wants,” she said.
This doesn’t mean that function should be forgotten, however, as Åsa Sjöholm, a dental technician who has run her own dental lab in Stockholm since 1995, explained. “You need to conduct treatment that is not just esthetically pleasing, but functions optimally as well,” Sjöholm said. “The implant placement and positioning, its angulation, depth and emergence profile – all of these are essential for proper functioning, and need to be organized in the treatment planning stage.”
4. Work together as a team – including the patient
The importance of teamwork between not just practice staff, but the clinician and patient, was a clear point of focus for all presenters. A key element of this communication, according to the panelists, is making sure that the patient knows what is required of them to maintain a healthy implant not just immediately post-operation, but for the daily care that should take place in the long term.
The WIDIOM rule – Would I Do It On Me? – was invoked by Dr. Schlosser as a good barometer for whether the clinician should proceed with treatment, while Dr. Winitsky demonstrated how the implant team should be thought of as more than just the clinician, dental hygienist and patient, but to include researchers and potentially dental IT-engineers in the future.
5. Make use of your peers
Last but not least, the panelists also underlined just how important it is to have networks of other dental professionals who you can ask questions, get tips from, and rely on for other forms of support. As the youngest speaker, Dr. Qvarnström spoke of how being unafraid to ask questions had helped her become an implantologist considerably. “You can’t just become an implantologist after reading about it and watching videos – you need a mentor, someone you can involve if you’re unsure,” she said.
“With so much new research and information out these days, it can be hard to work out what is relevant and meaningful,” added Dr. Schlosser. “This is why we need to be able to create small circles of peers, like the Nobel Biocare Esthetic Group, who we can trust to guide us in the right direction.”