Dental implants – a real business booster
Implant dentist Dr Amish Raichura shares how he built his implant business, offering valuable insight to those looking to follow in his footsteps.
Getting started in implants can be a challenging experience – especially in the early stages. For me I personally found that although the courses I attended were extremely helpful, I found it difficult to visualise the entire treatment pathway. Because of that, I initially lacked confidence and quickly became very aware that I did not want to be in a position where I was working beyond my capabilities or performing sub-optimally.
With this in mind I want to share some of the key decisions I had to make along my journey to success with implants.
The role of a mentor when building an implant business
To overcome my initial challenges of being able to visualise the treatment pathway and to further develop my knowledge and skills, I chose to find and work with mentors whom I could observe placing and restoring dental implants. Once I could see the entire treatment pathway, it helped me to bring the whole process together and I was able to put the various stages into context.
Working so closely with my mentors enabled me to have case-based discussions and reflect upon the elements that had been challenging. I was also able to ask a lot of questions. That gave me the confidence to enter a more extended programme of study and then use what I had learnt to acquire the Diploma in Implant Dentistry from the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh).
Expanding your treatment offering
When it comes to patients looking for a solution to replace a missing tooth or teeth, there are invariably four options: to leave the space, have a denture, bridge, or dental implant. Of course, there are factors that may preclude one or more of these options but, provided that they are all possible, a dental implant becomes an integral part of any discussion with a patient. As implants are often the least destructive, most predictable, most cosmetic and the longest lasting solution, they are commonly the ideal choice for today’s patients. To be able to offer such an option is therefore important to helping build an already thriving dental practice.
Of course, it’s also important to factor in patient demand and practice location, as to whether or not implants are a financially viable option for you. I found that the best indicator here was patient feedback, which can be acquired directly during consultations or more proactively through methods such as questionnaires. Though this feedback may only be derived from a sample of your patients, it can often be a very accurate indicator of the needs and wants of your entire patient base.
A long-term investment
When embarking on a journey with implants it’s vital to keep in mind the level of investment you’ll need to make, both from a time and money perspective. The initial outlay of costs in training, the important decisions to make around preferred implant systems, as well as the commitment to becoming skilled and competent with the support of a mentor – becoming an implant dentist doesn’t happen overnight, and can sometimes leave even the most ambitious of dentists asking if it’s worthwhile?
In short, there isn’t a straightforward answer to this question. The long-term prospects can vary, as they depend largely on the aims and objectives of the individual clinician or practice. For example, there are some dentists who have limited their practice to dental implants and others who, like myself, spend a large proportion of their time placing and restoring dental implants whilst continuing to enjoy a flourishing general dentistry career alongside.
However, from my own experience, I can say that for the practice itself, it can add variety to the lives of the clinicians and the staff, enabling one more treatment modality to be performed in-house rather than being referred out – making implants a great way to grow the business.
Getting the team ‘implant-ready’
The most important step in getting the practice ‘implant-ready’ is by ensuring that all team members are involved in the management pathway. This includes ensuring that the receptionist who greets the patient, the treatment co-ordinator who answers any queries, the nurses who assists the dentist, the operator who performs the treatment, or the technician who builds the restoration, are all appropriately trained, confident and competent in their role. The practice must also be suitably equipped to perform surgical implant placements in a safe environment that is free from cross-contamination.
Choosing an implant system
Ultimately, this comes down to personal preference. Personally, I have used various dental implant systems, especially during my early implant career, as I wanted to assess their differences first-hand. Today, I use BioHorizons Tapered Implants from BioHorizons Camlog in the treatment of all my implant patients as I have found that their protocols are straightforward, their equipment is simple to use, their technology is cutting-edge and their customer support is always exemplary.
For any dentist looking to kick-start their career in creating a successful implant business, it is always worthwhile attending a day course to get an initial idea of what is involved in this discipline and whether or not it might be for you, before embarking (and investing) in a more in-depth training programme. What has been learnt can then be put into context by observing mentors place and restore dental implants. With this comes an opportunity to ask questions on a one-to-one basis, learn protocols and even debate treatment plans in a relaxed and non-judgmental environment. After observing between five and 10 cases, I believe most dentists would have a firm idea of whether an extended programme of study is suited to them and this will lay the foundations for a career in implant dentistry.
For help in building an implant business and in finding the right kind of training for you – take a look at our Education Programme here or visit theimplantrevolution.co.uk