Implants are becoming more and more popular and certainly more commonplace in dental practice. Some years ago it would be something that, as a hygienist, I would come across occasionally. And when I did, I would tread carefully around it. Implant care wasn’t a focus in dental training back then.
Fast forward a few years and now I come across and help maintain implants on numerous occasions daily. As an industry, we are becoming more aware of implants and how to treat issues when they arise. And without the right maintenance, arise they shall.
Not only do I see implants on a daily basis now, most of which follow a referral to us as a practice, I also have to help these referrals battle to stabilise mucositis and periimplantitis. The cause of these issues fall down to biofilm accumulation from poor plaque control. But this inaccurate home care arises from inadequate after care and/or pre operative advice about maintenance post implant. These issues are avoidable with the right care before, during and after treatment.
Here are 3 vitally important steps that all implant practices should be adopting.
1. Make the hygienist a ‘gate keeper’ for implant treatment.
As a practice we carry out extensive treatments, including implants. Before any implant work is considered, the patient has to have treatment with myself until their periodontal status is stable. Sometimes this takes numerous visits. The aim is to ensure the foundations are healthy, so that we are carrying out their treatment ethically, in their best interest and to ensure the restorative work has the best chance in terms of longevity.
Once I am happy the patient is on board with their home care, their periodontal status is healthy and that their commitment to good oral health will sustain the work they have planned, I can refer back to the dentist to commence with treatment. I am seen as the gate keeper for restorative and implant dentistry. The patients are always on board with this concept, because they realise that the priority is that their health comes first, before all else. We call this phase ‘oral health optimisation’.
2. Have a plan in place for implant maintenance
Before treatment commences, the patient is asked to sign consent that includes the need for a maintenance plan, set by myself as the oral health expert, following treatment. The patient understands that treatment may only go ahead with that agreement. From a litigation point of view, we are protected. If they don’t follow the plan, they are doing so against our advice. By prioritising their oral hygiene before having the work done, all cases have so far continued with that commitment after their treatment. Not only is this best for the patient, good recalls are good for the business.
3. Invest in the equipment that best maintains implants
Would you be happy if someone took thousands of pounds from you for a service, but when it came to helping you maintain what they had done, you found they weren’t willing to invest in the equipment that best maintained what you have paid good money for? I carry out guided biofilm therapy (GBT) on my patients. It is a superior and minimally invasive way to work alongside the patient to maintain their implants. The equipment isn’t cheap, but in my opinion it is the best. I choose to use this EMS system on my patients because they deserve the highest level of care from me, following the work they have had done at the practice.
Another thing some practices fall short on, is the standard of maintenance after treatment. Implants need regular monitoring, have probing depths recorded and plaque and bleeding indices, amongst other things. Perioflow and Airflow using EMS Plus powder is indicated by companies such as Strauman, because it is recognised as the most effective way to maintain an implant long term. These are some of the things that you should be considering if you are placing implants.
Implants and Envisage Dental TV (EDTV)
How do you tell your clients about your implants offering?
A fantastic way to promote your implants, processes and procedures, as well as offers and finance is to use digital media within your waiting room and on your social media channels.
EDTV enables you to display your offers, product promotional material and video into your waiting room via a TV. As a subscriber, you will have the ability to create engaging and educational content to play into the waiting area. You will also be able to download content for your social media channels and website. Video content is ‘King’ when it comes to ‘being noticed’ on Google searches (click to read our blog about that!) nudging you ahead of your competition.
Written by Claire Berry Dental Hygienist.