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Early days in Dental Implants
I spent the next ten years after taking my first implant course from Dr. Brånemarklearning how to use dental implants in my practice. The introduction of a workable dental implant came with a totally different option in treating my Prosthodontic Patients, an option that eventually led to utilizing more fixed restorations and much much less removable restorations. It was a time where manufactures and dentists introduced many different implant designs and many variations of the Prosthodontic Implant Restoration. It was a time of experimentation, coupled with a great deal of continuing education and findings of both success and failure.
In the beginning, everyone was at the same place. This was totally new material to the dental practitioner and none of had developed a feel for how it worked over a long period of time. True, Dr. Brånemark’s work had involved years of experimentation and clinical trials, but that was very different from going into your own office and using the materials on your own patients. The entire experience was greatly hampered by the fact that there was no specialty are of “Dental Implantology”. Technically, anyone with a dental license could place or restore a dental implant, and since it was not yet taught (at least the technology that was introduced by Dr. Brånemark) in dental schools, it was a free-for-all as to who would do what and what Dental Specialties would indeed dominate the field.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons already had some call to claim their position in dental implant placement since they had been working with other, albeit, primitive systems for a while. But, Periodontists were quick to claim the field of dental implant placement as their own as were groups of general dentists who would start up new organizations tied to the use of dental implants in clinical dentistry. The Prosthodontist tried to cement their area of expertise in the restoration process, but eventually they too came around to incorporate dental implant placement into their specialty area. For years the fights raged on in the literature and on the podiums, and to some extent, still carries on today. What has endured is that to this day, there is no legal specialty of “Dental Implantology”