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Addressing the trend in turnkey care   

Postgraduate Surgical Implant Training Program

Dr. William Nagy, professor in restorative sciences and director of the prosthodontic graduate program, and Dr. Josh Chapa, a periodontist and clinical assistant professor in restorative sciences

Media Resources/Steven Doll

Surgical implant training now reaches more graduate residents than ever before

Just four months into the new postgraduate surgical implant training program at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry, coordinator Dr. William Nagy is enthusiastic about its progress.

“There’s no other program like it in the country,” says Nagy, professor in restorative sciences and director of the prosthodontic graduate program. “It’s working very well so far.”

Funded by a $100,000 five-year grant from dental-device manufacturer Biomet 3i, the initiative serves graduate residents in the areas of prosthodontics and advanced general dentistry. This puts prosthodontic residents ahead of the curve in meeting a new education standard of the Commission on Dental Accreditation: Effective 2014, prosthodontic graduates must place implants.

“There is a big emphasis on prosthodontists placing implants as part of a turnkey effort involving both surgery and restorative care,” Nagy says. “Previously prosthodontic residents placed five to 10 implants in the three-year program; these were placed in the oral surgery clinic with the assistance of oral surgery faculty and residents.

“While our residents participated in treatment planning and assisted the surgeon during placement of all their patients’ implants, most implant surgery was done by periodontic residents and oral surgery residents and faculty. Implant placement already is an integral part of those graduate programs.”

Dr. Josh Chapa, a periodontist, was hired as a clinical assistant professor July 1 to supervise the residents in the program and design the course curriculum. Faculty members from the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery presented a 14-session course this summer for prosthodontic and AEGD residents.

“The summer didactic class encompassed the basic surgical techniques, and Dr. Triplett has given lectures this fall pertaining to treatment planning for implants,” Chapa says. “Previous implant instruction was not geared to single-unit cases like these residents would see in everyday practice. The information they receive now can be applied in the future whether or not they do the actual surgeries.”

As for securing patients, Nagy reports no difficulty identifying implant candidates from the existing pool. “I’d say 75 percent of the AEGD and prosthodontic patients have implant requirements,” he says. “Once the program is going full steam, we estimate residents will place five to 10 implants per year.”

A new dedicated surgical operatory within the sixth-floor AEGD clinic is ideal for the program’s needs. Cabinetry to hold necessary equipment was purchased with grant funds, and a part-time dental assistant will soon join the staff. Biomet 3i also provided $46,000 of products and supplies such as the surgical handpieces, titanium implants and other surgical components, and graft materials used during implant placement. The first surgery took place in early October.

“I provide clinical oversight, stand right next to the student and talk them through the procedure,” Chapa says. “In addition, I have started doing case discussions on Fridays with the AEGD residents.

"Likewise, I go to the prosthodontic residents and discuss cases with the patient in the dental chair. We talk about things like whether the patient has adequate tissue, if they require bone grafting, and other things a surgeon would look for. We review treatment options with patients, because there is more than one way to approach a case.”