Welcome to this special issue of JOI dedicated to the “Future of Implant Dentistry”. The future of Implant Dentistry is full of opportunities for generalists and specialists in the field. Commencement speakers have often said, as they tell the graduates about what their future holds for them, that they will find (just as we will find in our profession) there are 3 kinds of people. One set will look around in 5 years and say, “Wow, look what has happened,” the second group will say, “Let's make it happen,” and the third group will say, “How did this happen?” I encourage each of us to be part of the first 2 groups—to make the future happen or at least embrace it. Do not let it pass you by unless you are ready to become part of the past instead of being instrumental in the future.
If we should desire, we can all be involved in the potential developments for patients, clinicians, researchers, and our industry supporters. No matter what phase of personal development each of us may be in, we can look forward to substantial improvements in patient care. Patient care is what it is all about. Improve patient care and the satisfaction for all involved will be increased. To advance patient care we must keep it as our primary focus. This will involve continual adaptation on the clinician's behalf, with an open mind for accepting new and proven technologies. New technologies do not necessarily have to mean the replacement of our existing methodologies, but they will give us additional choices in how we provide excellent patient care. These new technologies will open up the wonders of Implant Dentistry to additional patients who may not have had the ability to undertake implant restorations due to lack of local bone, occlusion, systemic health concerns, and/or financial considerations.
This special issue covers multiple aspects of Implant Dentistry with literature reviews, research, and clinical case reports. The support from our advertisers has made this issue possible and I encourage you to not only take in the scientific and clinical content of this issue, but to also see what the suppliers have to offer.
None of us can predict where implant dentistry will be in 5 or 10 years, but it will certainly be different and better than it is today. Patients will be more sophisticated, therefore desiring better and more predictable restorations with less recovery time and discomfort. The “buzz word” today is “evidenced-based dentistry” and we certainly will have additional data from today that will permit each of us to base our treatment decisions in the future on what we know works, yet allow us to express our personal set of skills in the process. The future is tomorrow and we have the choice of rolling over and letting it pass us by, or we can embrace it and enjoy the change that will improve implant dentistry as we know it today.
James L. Rutkowski, PhD, DMD
Journal of Oral Implantology