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Letters: Implantology

November 16, 2015 I found Dr. Michael F. Cuenin’s rebuttal, (“My View: Rebuttal: Implant Specialty Status,” Sept. 21 ADA News) to Dr. Dennis Flanagan’s article (“My View: Surgical and Prosthetic Implant Treatment”), breathtaking from a member of the American Academy of Periodontology who is trying to rename their organization: “The American Academy of Periodontology and Implantology.”

By inference, Dr. Cuenin defines implantology as “only placing the implant.” Nothing could be further from the truth. To begin, the medical state of the patient is paramount, as is their pharmacological status, available bone, type of bone and physical and biological compatible metallurgy of implant materials, not to mention the crown jewel of implantology — prosthetics.

It is widely held that implantology is prosthetically driven. Perhaps only prosthodontists should place implants. The key that Dr. Cuenin pays lip service to is advanced training programs in implantology, of which there are many (as there should be). This territorial infighting of the dental profession only leads to litigation.

It has been said, “If you want to know what’s really going on, follow the money.” The bare truth is that multiple specialties have a large stake in implantology, none of whom is going to give it up. Thus it is highly unlikely that implantology will ever become a specialty. The existing specialties will continue to sequester bits and pieces of implantology until it is unrecognizable as such, or force the cost of admission so high that few can commit to implantology. Patients will suffer, ultimately.

Historically, it is wise to ponder that all dental specialties derive from general dentistry. Why do some specialists hold such disdain for their “parent?” The origins of implantology derive deeply from the hard work and courage of the very early pioneers such as O. Hilt Tatum, Leonard Linkow, Norm Cranin, Jack Hahn and others. They freely shared their knowledge at the time with whomever would listen. This work had started long before Dr. Branemark.

I believe that the public is best served by multiple educated and valid points of view to serve the wider varying needs of our patients.

Stephen A. Sevenich, D.D.S.
Green Bay, Wisconsin