According to Professor Daniel S. Thoma, dental implants have progressed in leaps and bounds since he graduated with a degree in dental medicine from the University of Basel in 2000.
“When we look at implants now, their survival rates are extremely high and there is not so much we need to improve in this respect,” he says.
Now the Vice-Chair of the University of Zurich’s Clinic of Reconstructive Dentistry, Prof Thoma’s dental career has seen him work in private practice in Switzerland, receive an academic scholarship from the University of Texas, and even take up a visiting professor role at South Korea’s Yonsei University.
These and other experiences have taught Prof Thoma that where substantial improvements can still be made in implant treatment is in the esthetic appearance of the final restoration. This is where his specialty – soft tissue management – becomes especially vital.
Without proper soft tissue management, optimized implant treatment outcomes are impossible, regardless of the implant placement timing.
“If we really want to get the best outcome possible, particularly when dealing with implants in the esthetic zone, we need to have an understanding of how essential soft tissue grafting and augmentation procedures are,” he explains.
“I’ve done quite a lot of research in this specific field and have been able to establish that, without proper soft tissue management, optimized implant treatment outcomes are impossible, regardless of the implant placement timing.”
“At the end of the day, we’re trying to minimize patient morbidity while also making the treatment easier for the implant surgeon or dentist.”
Master advanced esthetic cases
Prof Thoma will be one of 10 instructing clinicians, led by Prof Christoph Hämmerle, presenting a masterclass in esthetic implant and restorative dentistry at the University of Zurich from October 28-30. This immersive, hands-on course will feature a mix of lectures, live surgery and hands-on classes, including a workshop led by Prof Thoma on post-operative soft tissue management and abutment connection.
It is crucial that participants know that their treatment planning should be simple and predictable…but this doesn’t mean that there is one concept that suits all patients
“In my workshop, I’ll be dealing with the importance of soft tissue augmentation in edentulous and partially edentulous areas in the posterior zone as well as the esthetic zone,” he says.
“Participants will be learning about why we should perform these procedures from both an esthetic and biological point of view, which will be complemented by hands-on training and live surgery.”
At the masterclass in esthetic implant and restorative dentistry, Prof. Thoma will perform live surgery, demonstrating soft tissue augmentation procedures in the esthetic zone. One key learning that Prof Thoma is looking forward to communicating to attendees is the importance of predictable outcomes in meeting patient expectations.
“Even though we’re going to be demonstrating many different concepts, it is crucial that participants know that their treatment planning should be simple and predictable,” he says.
“But this doesn’t mean that there is one concept that suits all patients – treatment always needs to be tailored to a specific case’s needs, and adjusted at different steps to make sure the end result is optimized.”
In a class of their own
The limited number of spaces available for this masterclass means that attendees will be able to work closely with their peers as they apply their know-how and experience in practical planning sessions with complex cases and interactive discussions.
“I think there are few other courses like this,” Prof Thoma declares.
“We’re not just going to go over the implant treatment planning, or the surgical elements or the prosthodontics part – we’re giving attendees a complete overview of the implant treatment and management concepts that we use here on a daily basis, delivered by an internationally renowned team who will be personally working with them.”
Though the course was successfully held in a virtual capacity in 2020, this year will see it take place in an in-person format. It’s something that Prof Thoma and the other presenting experts are particularly excited about.
“The setup we had for last year’s masterclass was exceptional, but the interactions you have online just aren’t the same. Participants don’t just want to listen, they want to have that face-to-face interaction – and that’s true from our side as well,” Prof Thoma says.
“With that in mind, we’re very much looking forward to welcoming attendees to Zurich.”