Short-term profits have rapidly become the new coin of the realm in dentistry. And increasingly it’s a transaction in the form of implants.

Almost weekly know, I am meeting face-to-face with a person who wants implants and knows nothing about them, had some placed in a quick and unplanned fashion, and/or has some failing implants.

Marketing.

Tooth-in-a-day.

Smile-in-a-day.

What a great concept…

except when it’s not.

Except when it may be harmful in the long run because the person’s occlusion, bruxism, or smoking habit is so self-destructive that the implant(s) will never survive it.

Everyone it seems, is now an expert on implants or wants to be, but only a few have the analysis, technical and communication skills to perform the procedure well, and fully inform and prepare the patient for what they are actually getting into.

One and done?

Not likely.

But that is what is implied over and over to a person in crisis, has a trusting nature, and just wants to get on with their life.

Implants are being placed in people’s mouths with poor hygiene and with no habit or intention of keeping the maintenance visits.

Implants are being placed before any occlusal analysis, or true informed consent.

But look at our production numbers! Now we can go on a Caribbean cruise together and learn more about stem cells!

Reductionism in implant dentistry’s now mainstream and Carl Misch has to be rolling over in his grave.

Seth Godin says:

“There’s always a shortcut, a rule to be bent, a way to make some more money now at the expense of the people around us.”

My oral surgeon is no longer touching implants placed by other people, and my periodontist is growing weary of bailing other people out of their bad decisions, as it’s consuming too much of his time and distracting him from being productive.

All of this is leading us towards people having greater and greater frustration toward dentists and dentistry, and the wrong direction in too many cases.

Fortunately, if you have the trust and relationship building skills, you can help some of these people out -at least the ones who can afford the revision, the dramatic change in course, and a different treatment philosophy. The rest -the ones who couldn’t really afford the implant(s) in the first place, but were talked into it…they’re screwed.

And angry.

And might be sitting in your chair on Monday.

Paul A. Henny, DDS

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