I think we all agree that continuing education is one of the foundations of every profession.
It guarantees that practitioners remain up to date and abreast of new techniques, materials and research studies that are continuously changing and improving. With that in mind, I have noticed a trend in the past two years that in my opinion is alarming, if not outright dangerous for the dental profession.
Recently many, for profit, seminar groups, institutes and other continuing education providers are marketing so called “Implant Mentorship courses”. Most of these courses are 2-4 days. Most faculties are general dentists and they claim they provide training for implant placement and restoration in that time period, through “mentoring”. As an educator and a practitioner; I believe these kinds of so called “training”, will only give a false sense of knowledge and competence to people attending them. The advances in implant dentistry have been wonderful for patients who are missing one or more teeth. In my opinion, any general dentist, who is interested in implant dentistry, should seriously think about attending these courses.
The best continuing education training programs in implant dentistry are offered by dental schools through out the United States. These programs are spread over a few months (usually about 300 CE hours or more) and all aspects of implant dentistry from A – Z are covered. Faculties are periodontists, oral surgeons, prosthodontists and general dentists. And, they will tell you at the end of these programs, that you should not take on certain implant cases due to level of difficulty or possibility of complication. Keep in mind that a poorly done endodontic case, can easily be corrected by retreatment or apical micro-surgery. A poorly done implant case, is very very difficult and sometimes impossible to correct.
From a legal point of view,when a general dentist begins to perform procedures that are primarily performed by specialists, the law holds them to the standard of care, expected of specialists providing similar procedures on a regular basis. Before you sign up for one of these implant training or mentorship courses, stop and think. Would you have an implant done on yourself or a loved one by a dentist that had training for 2-3 days?