When Dr. Anthony Feck first began placing dental implants in the late 1980s, there weren't many other general dentists offering the treatment-and there certainly weren't many product options. But even back then, Dr. Feck realized implant dentistry was the best solution he could offer his patients, and that it also represented a great way for him to grow his practice.
"I knew there was a need for implant dentistry," said Dr. Feck, who is an advisory board member and faculty member for OsteoReady. "It was obvious this was a discipline of dentistry that was going to expand as we learned more about the techniques and the materials, and that this form of tooth replacement was superior to any conventional method of replacing natural teeth."
Over the years, Dr. Feck invested in training to hone his skills, and continued to try different systems as implant dentistry evolved. These systems all had their deficiencies, though, and required dentists to purchase different instruments and to learn different techniques-which meant they weren't very user friendly.
Today, Dr. Feck focuses on implant and sedation dentistry in his new Lexington, Kentucky based practice, which employs three doctors. All three place implants and use sedation to attract more candidates, Dr. Feck said. The practice markets to the denture wearer whose function, comfort, and confidence is impacted by the limitations of conventional dentures.
Dr. Feck also loves mentoring other dentists, which is why his new facility features a modern, comfortable area designated for teaching.
"Building an implant practice is a choice," Dr. Feck said. "The keys are training, practice systems, and marketing to the implant candidate. Because I've seen what it can do for my practice and that of others, I've developed and shared these systems through one-on-one training with other colleagues in a consulting role."
The type of implant cases Dr. Feck performs in his 7,000 square foot facility range from fixed crown and bridge restorations to removable snap on prosthesis. Offering a variety of implant procedures as well as sedation dentistry has allowed Dr. Feck to build the practice he envisioned and to enjoy a successful career.
"Dental implants and sedation dentistry are the two disciplines that give me the freedom to have the type of practice that I want," Dr. Feck said. "My practice is less dependent on insurance and discount plans. It frees me up to have the schedule I want, the income I want and to offer the type of services I want to perform."
Dr. Feck's role at OsteoReady
Dr. Feck started using the OsteoReady system seven years ago, he said, and liked the fact that it was designed by a general practitioner for general practitioners. It's user friendly, versatile and has an intuitive technique. The company's MultiDrill Procedure requires fewer drills to prepare an implant site, making the procedure more efficient and less time consuming.
About five years ago, Dr. Feck began teaching courses for OsteoReady. Once a month, dentists gather in his office for a comprehensive class that covers the basics of implant dentistry as well as advanced techniques. The course can be customized based on the experience level of those in attendance, and includes a didactic component as well as live patient experience and hands-on training.
The courses are taught from a GP mindset, Dr. Feck said, focusing on simplicity, efficiency and predictability.
"The instructors take into account the unique needs that GPs have versus specialists," he said. "We teach the materials in a way that allows GPs to fit implant dentistry into the multitude of procedures they typically have on their schedule."
OsteoReady's relationship doesn't end after the initial course, Dr. Feck said, which is another benefit of partnering with the company. Dr. Feck and the rest of the team, which consists of specialists and leaders in the dental implant field, are committed to supporting their GP customers and helping them accomplish their goals in implant dentistry.
Advice to GPs interested in implant dentistry
GPs need to be placing implants, Dr. Feck said. These days, if you don't have a sound understanding of implant dentistry, it puts you at a competitive disadvantage. Placing implants is not only critical to serving the needs of your patient base, it's also vital to running a successful business.
"Once you start placing implants, it's important to choose a system that can be offered economically to your patients and that can be implemented easily into your practice," Dr. Feck said. "It should be versatile enough to simplify instrumentation and inventory, as well as team training. You should be using a system that doesn't require the patient to leave the practice and have multiple costly and invasive procedures performed by a specialist."
The biggest challenge to incorporating implant dentistry is the same as any new service you might add: becoming comfortable and confident enough to place and treat a variety of cases, Dr. Feck said. That confidence comes with frequency. If you only occasionally place implants in your practice, you'll never gain the necessary experience. You really have to make implant dentistry a routine part of your practice so both you and your patients can reap the many benefits implants provide.
"Dental implants are actually much more straightforward and easy to perform than many other services GPs traditionally provide on a daily basis, such as molar endodontics and posterior resin restorations," Dr. Feck said. "We have this idea that dental implantology is complex and highly technique sensitive, and that it's reserved for those who have extensive training. While it's true you should perform implant dentistry to a high standard, just like you would any other dental service, it's certainly within the capabilities of any GP who is willing to commit to developing the necessary level of competency."