The informed implant patient requires a whole-team effort

04 June 2023

Amit Patel considers the patient’s journey.

Every implant dentist wants their patients to leave the practice happy ­– thrilled, even ­– that their smile has been restored. On a practical level, you won’t want them to have had any nasty surprises either, especially regarding things like cost and timeframes.

It is crucial, therefore, that they feel satisfied they had all the necessary information when they made their decision to go ahead with treatment. The delivery of an implant doesn’t mark the end of a patient’s journey. In fact, that journey started long before they sat in the chair. The minute they tapped ‘dental implants’ into their search engine, or made their first call, or you brought the topic up during an appointment, they will have been learning about this treatment and gathering information.  

These are people who want to invest in dentistry, to improve their quality of life. They’re proactive, engaged and positive. But all professionals accept that the modern patient will not only be talking to their practice about how to fix a functional or aesthetic problem, or both. They will be doing their own research, asking around and going online. The internet can be both a friend and foe; friend because it can pique the curiosity, be a springboard for further questions and help a patient develop knowledge. Foe, because not everything out there is evidence-based, or applicable to every case. Going online could have given them unrealistic expectations about what is possible, which will only become apparent once they’ve had a full assessment.

Implant therapies, although accessible and popular, are still a complex, advanced and cutting-edge area of dentistry. Dental implant treatment isn’t suitable for everyone, and there are various procedures available. With more and more people interested in implants, the need to have quality patient information, that is relevant, accurate, concise and comprehensive, has never been greater.

Creating a whole-team experience is paramount, for informed patients who are confident in their choices and go on to successfully complete treatment plans. The whole team approach means care that is holistic, starting at the planning stage. When the dental hygienist and/or dental therapist are involved in all the early conversations, for example, an accurate picture will start to emerge about that individual’s needs and wants, as well as the social and medical factors that could compromise the implant’s long-term stability.

With the right information, an individual won’t be disappointed or frustrated to hear “no”, or “not right now”, because they will appreciate this is their unique journey, to reach the destination of a functional and beautiful smile that, with maintenance, will last for years. When the team coordinates and communicates, the patient will understand their options and, if alternatives are being suggested, why. Perhaps their susceptibility to gum disease and high risk of bone loss is the reason why a partial or complete denture might be favourable, in those circumstances.

The informed patient will be willing to improve their oral health because they will acknowledge they can give themselves the best chance of implant success when existing problems have been managed and any behaviours like smoking and drinking too much alcohol have changed. They will know their commitment to elevated and effective hygiene is key, also their attendance at regular appointments, for inspection and professional cleaning. 

The whole-team approach will educate, inform, bust myths and build relationships. From these relationships will come happy, healthy patients who look after their implants and enjoy life! Their reviews are essential, for having a reputation for excellence.  

To give your patients all the information they need to make the right decision about their treatment journey, the Association of Dental Implantology (ADI) has compiled leaflets to help. Written in a commercially unbiased way, these resources enable them to deepen their understanding about dental implants, and what to expect if they say “yes”. ADI members get a number of free copies, with a discounted rate thereafter; this is just one benefit of joining the UK’s go-to organisation for anything and everything related to dental implants. The ADI is also proud of how it has long promoted the importance of a full team approach and experience for all patients. It extends a warm welcome to all members of the implant team, offering bespoke educational programmes for nurses, practice managers, hygienists and therapists alongside clinicians, as part of its events calendar.

Informed patients are crucial to implant therapy success, and the whole team has a role to play. Even the most skilled and knowledgeable implantologist will need the support of others in the practice, who will work hard to ensure anyone having a dental implant understands the rationale behind every stage in their treatment plan. The informed patient will know their options and the alternatives and feel well looked after, having received premium care to support long-term stability and success.


For more information visit