Implant dental nurse Kasia Allan explains why her role plays such an essential part of the implant journey and what the next generation of implant nurses need to consider.

From dental nurse to implant nurse, implant TCO and national nurse trainer, I’ve spent the past 14 years dedicating my career to the field of implant dentistry. In that time, I’ve seen the industry change dramatically with growing public demand for immediate, full-arch treatment and an ever-increasing emphasis on the importance of the implant nurse’s role, both in support of the dentist and the patient.

The implant nurses pre-, intra- and post-operative involvement is crucial and cannot be underestimated. As clinical staff members, we are exposed to every stage of treatment, from consultation to post-op care. For those considering expanding their skillset and getting involved in implant nursing and even those that have already taken the plunge, it’s essential to understand how our involvement affects both the clinician and patient along the treatment journey, and how we can best advance our skills in this ever-evolving field of dentistry.

Edentulism is a global problem. In the UK alone, approximately 6% of the population are edentatei. This chronic disease is associated with significant morbidity and health issues and fulfils the World Health Organisation’s definition of a physical impairment or disabilityii.

Complete dentures only provide patients with a marginal improvement in their quality of life, whereas, with implant-retained restorations, we can significantly improve the physical wellbeing in addition to the quality of life of our patients.

Full-arch implant surgery, including immediate full-arch loading protocol and extra-maxillary approaches, is becoming a popular treatment option. By 2023, the global implant market is expected to reach an estimated $13 billioniii . Dentists’ performing this type of surgery require a well-trained team, including a dental nurse capable of dealing with the challenging aspects of implant treatment.

As implant nurses, we provide support to the patient and the dentist during the consultation phase and are involved in the pre-surgical planning process, surgical, aftercare and restorative stages.

As a key representative of the practice and the patient implant treatment journey, the implant nurse is often one of the first people the patient may speak to and one they feel most comfortable talking to. It’s for this reason that the implant nurse undergoes the correct training to ensure they have the necessary communication skills and knowledge available to address any concerns they may have.

Our pre, intra and post-operative assistance are vital, including setting up and organising equipment for implant procedures, assisting in sedation or PRF procedures, handling used instruments and equipment, patient aftercare, assisting in the restorative phases, and so much more.

The implant nurse maintains and implements the necessary rigorous standard of infection protocol and embraces a four-handed surgical approach involving passing and receiving instruments in a smooth and confident motion. This system reduces the stress on the operator and quickens the procedure with less surgical exposure for the patient, offering a more pleasant experience overall.

The role of the implant nurse is clearly multi-faceted and demands high-level technical and interpersonal skills. Those involved in implant or oral surgical procedures must be up-to-date with surgical asepsis, be familiar with Training Standards in Implant Dentistry, and GDC Standards for Dental Care Professionals.

As clinical staff members, we have an ethical responsibility not to increase the risk of adverse treatment outcomes for patients in our care. And remember, our patient’s expectations are not dissimilar to our own. Is the team trained appropriately? Do they know what to do in the event of an emergency or complication? Is the equipment safe?

Only by gaining knowledge and experience can we become competent and confident nurses in this field, which will allow us to enjoy our responsibilities, provide better support and appropriately tackle any future treatment challenges we may face. Continuous learning is necessary when thinking about getting involved in implant surgical procedures and, most importantly, supporting our patients’ wellbeing.

It is imperative to have the correct training and attend the right course if you are planning on becoming involved in implant dentistry. With courses such as Advanced Nurses Full-Arch Training and The Implant Workshop for Dental Nurses, BioHorizons Camlog supports dental nurses looking to increase their understanding of this challenging treatment and their supportive role throughout the patient journey.

Click here to view article references

i. Mather, H., Thomason, M. & Ellis, J. (2018) Are UK graduates equipped with the skill set required to meet the demands of the UK’s edentulous population? Br Dent J 225, 15–18

ii. World Health Organization (2021). Health Topics: Disabilities. Available at http://www.who.int/topics/disabilities/en/  [Accessed 04 May 2021]

iii. Alghamdi, H. and Jansen, J. (2021). The development and future of dental implants. [online] pubmed.gov. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31969548 [Accessed 04 May 2021]

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Kasia Allan

Kasia Allan

Kasia has been actively involved in training Dental Nurses in the field of implant dentistry for the past 8 years. She recognises the importance of Continuing Professional Development having completed a Master’s Degree in Philosophy in Poland in 2004, a National Certificate in Dental Nursing with the National Examining Board for Dental Nurses UK in 2006, a Certificate in Dental Implant Nursing from Kings College London in 2014 and most recently a Certificate in Dental Radiography from the BDA in 2018. She is registered with the General Dental Council (registration number: 140352) and has been a member of the ADI for over 10 years. In the past 14 years, Kasia has progressed from a Dental Nurse to her current role and responsibilities which include working as a Dental Implant Nurse, an Implant Treatment Coordinator as well as being responsible for the training of other nurses. She has worked with BioHorizons Camlog for many years, lecturing and training nurses throughout the UK in dental implants at both basic and advanced levels. She also enjoys assisting during lectures and hands-on activities for other Dental Care Professionals.