Many readers will be familiar with the all-on-four treatment concept. This protocol, developed by Paulo Malo of Portugal, is rapidly becoming one of the most popular techniques for treating edentulous patients. Not only is the same-day, immediate solution absolutely life-changing for patients, but dentists also benefit from offering a high-value implant treatment that is completed in a relatively short period of time.
If you are thinking about offering same-day full-arch rehabilitations in practice, it is important that you do not offer this treatment lightly. Even highly experienced implant dentists would find it useful to seek mentorship for their first few cases to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible. This is especially relevant if you are not using guided surgery techniques.
You should also pay careful consideration to the laboratory you choose to work with for such complex cases. Not all laboratories are necessarily set up to offer same-day full-arch rehabilitation support. Similarly, not all technicians are able to work under the intense pressure that same-day support cases create. Thankfully Allport & Vincent is fortunate enough to employ Grahame McCaslin, a highly-skilled and experienced technician, who heads up its specialist product division. Grahame is calm under pressure and he has the ability to evolve his protocols on a case-by-case basis, constantly improving efficiency and the quality of the results he produces.
Clearly, working with a good and reliable laboratory is vital for any dentist, but for same-day support the connection you have with your technician will most certainly be under the spotlight. After all, the technician will be in the more unusual position of managing both the expectations of the dentist and the patient. They should be prepared to resolve any unexpected problems that may arise on the day under the scrutiny of, most likely, several uncompromising parties.
From experience, we have seen many examples of laboratories who, over the years, have tried to offer same-day support and have either failed or had limited success. Reasons for this may be down to a lack of investment in technician training or insufficient planning. To avoid falling foul of this situation, it is advisable to request case examples of your laboratory’s completed work and evidence of a proven track record of success in this field. This evidence may be offered by way of testimonials from other implant dentists or contact details for other clients for whom they have carried out similar cases.
We must not overlook the importance of the implant company for these cases. There are many different manufacturers out there and the best will provide you with training, mentorship and ongoing support. Ensure that your laboratory is fully familiar with the system you use and that your implant company representative can be relied upon to provide you with all the additional support you need.
Over the last few years, treatment protocols such as all-on-four have become an exciting area for growth in dentistry. From the laboratory’s perspective, we are certainly finding that more dentists are now offering it as an option for their edentulous patients. However, while the benefits for all parties are clear to see, it is essential that you work with a team who you are confident can provide you with outstanding same-day support.
Jonathan Parkinson is a director and joint owner of Allport & Vincent Dental Laboratory along with his business partner Stephen Vincent. Based in Oxfordshire, they operate a wholly private full-service laboratory with clients across the country.
Jonathan joined the field of dentistry with Nobel Biocare in the late 1990s and has since worked globally in large corporate laboratories and blue chip dental companies alike. He has a special interest in dental CAD/CAM, having extensively consulted for one of the major dental companies in this area.