In my lecture at this year’s EAO meeting, attendees received an overview of over 50 years of working with implants and why we did it in certain ways back then and why we do it differently today. When I started placing implants, they were only for specialists in oral surgery and prosthetics. Periodontists were not even allowed to listen to our lectures. One also had to be thoroughly trained if one wanted to purchase implants. Companies kept records of the clinician’s success rates and if he or she had a higher than normal failure rate, they showed him or her the door to figure out alone what had gone wrong. In some instances, the warranty did not even apply if the dentist was not very good.
I wish we had a similar system today to save patients from less skilled peers. Later, everyone was allowed to take a course and to place implants. Often, these were just weekend courses after which the dentist was supposed to be a fully qualified surgeon and prosthodontist and knew everything, including single- tooth restoration, full-arch rehabilitation of severely resorbed jaws with bone grafts and immediate loading concepts. It was totally absurd. To place implants, one needs to be well trained always learn to walk before one starts to run. To my delight, I see that more and more implant companies are abandoning weekend courses and instead offering high-quality courses over a longer period. Attendees have to treat patients under supervision and companies even offer mentor support, which means clinicians are receiving guidance in conducting their treatments.