04 August 2015
UK dentists who place and restore implants are expected to follow the training pathways recommended by the General Dental Council and the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK). When more than one clinician is involved in providing implant treatment, it is important that there is the ‘team leader’ with overall responsibility for the treatment, and that both clinicians can work together, complementing each other’s skills.
Implants can and do fail, and the criteria for reimbursing or compensating the patient depend on many factors, such as the discussion during the consent process, the standard of care and the length of time the implant was viable. Other factors such as patient co-operation and subsequent treatment by the referring general dental practitioner may also be relevant. Any subsequent failure might involve both the original placement of the implant as well as the restorative element.
Ideally there should be a good working relationship and close liaison between the two clinicians involved, on the understanding that one will be placing the implant and the other placing the restoration. To obtain patient consent there may need to be separate input from the clinician placing the implant as well as the clinician placing the restoration. Once the patient has given their consent, the treatment can be carried out. It would be prudent to advise the patient that the success of implants, like any other aspect of clinical dentistry, cannot always be guaranteed.
When it comes to the apportionment of responsibility (including fees), this is something which should be discussed and decided between the clinicians involved, without the patient being involved or indeed compromised.