Dental implants have always been part of Dr. David Little's general practice. He was still in dental school when the first dental implant was introduced in the United States, and after learning about the many benefits, he knew it was a treatment option he had to offer his patients.
Dr. Little started out doing mostly restorative implant work, he said, eventually moving on to more difficult cases. Today, he takes on anything from replacing a single tooth to placing multiple implants to performing full arch restorations. His practice offers the full gamut of implant services, including digital solutions such as CBCT technology and itraoral scanning that further improve the workflow and the final outcome.
"I realized implants are the best treatment, especially if you consider back then the choice for replacing a single tooth was a three unit bridge or a single tooth implant," said Dr. Little, who is the Clinical Director for OsteoReady. "There's also an emotional benefit to replacing a tooth. Being able to put a tooth back and make someone whole again is a great thing. You see it in single-tooth cases but you really see it in edentulous patients. You're taking someone from being a dental cripple to being able to function again and eat what they want to eat, not what they think they might be able to chew. It changes people's lives for the better."
Over the course of his career, Dr. Little has made dental implants and restorative dentistry his focus. His two associates, Drs. Kristen McBride and Brittany Stites handle most of the other procedures and place implants, freeing him up to hone his skills and provide his patients with top-notch implant treatment. He's experienced first-hand how dental implants spur practice growth, and through his role at OsteoReady, wants to mentor other dentists so they can realize the same success.
The benefits of being a GP who places implants
To successfully incorporate implants into his practice, Dr. Little had to develop a workflow that allowed him to treat patients in an efficient manner while also providing the best outcome, he said. Once he figured that out, he was not only able to ensure his patients received optimal treatment, he was also able to boost his practice production numbers.
Because patients don't have to go to multiple offices to receive the care they need, they're much happier with the overall experience. As their GP, he's able to provide continual care once treatment is complete, ensuring the implant stays healthy for a lifetime.
"The big thing about having a GP as quarterback and looking over everything is patients don't have to go to multiple offices for treatment continuity," Dr. Little said. "It's all under one roof. From the restorative side, one of the biggest changes in implant dentistry is we treatment plan from the restoration backward. In the past, we would get the implant placed and try to make it work. Now we plan where the best restoration would be and go backward. Who better than the GP to understand what needs to be done for the final restoration?"
Dr. Little's Role at OsteoReady
As the Clinical Director, Dr. Little is responsible for the education OsteoReady provides to GPs who are already placing implants or who are just getting started. Through the GP-focused implant company's two-day mini-residency program, clinicians new to implant dentistry have the opportunity to see procedures performed live, helping them truly understand how cases are set up and how patients are managed. Doctors also receive guidance from Dr. Little and other faculty members on treatment planning, setting fees and marketing implant services.
OsteoReady offers advanced courses as well, Dr. Little said, where doctors can learn about site preservation, how to treat edentulous patients and other implant-related topics.
Through these courses, Dr. Little is able to share his love for implant dentistry and to mentor fellow GPs who want to add this treatment option to their list of services. Many GPs are hesitant to implement implants into their practice because they don't know what to expect, or because they simply haven't had enough education. Dr. Little wants to help GPs overcome those barriers so they can realize all the benefits implants can bring both their patients and their practice. He has the experience and know-how to do that, which is why he's such a valuable part of the OsteoReady team.
"Education is a big factor. Once GPs overcome their fears and gain the necessary knowledge, the final part is implementing implants into the office and being able to set up a workflow so everyone on the team is on the same page," Dr. Little said. "Implants are the best treatment available. When you offer implants, you're doing the right thing for the right reasons. You get predictable results and patients who are happy with the services you provide."