Dr Andrew Farr talks to The Revu about his recent experience of undertaking the ITI Foundation in Implant Dentistry (FID) course and why, along with the guidance of his mentor, he is now more than ready to place his first implants.
What first motivated you to attend the FID course?
We were already offering implant treatment at our practice, but I was keen to learn for myself how to place and restore implants. I qualified over 10 years ago and received no implant training at all at undergraduate level, so it was a question of looking at the introductory courses out there that could get me confidently started in implant dentistry and the FID course was definitely the one that suited me best.
How did you find the course content?
Because it’s a Foundation course it’s designed to give you a solid theoretical understanding of how and when to use implants and to guide you in implant selection. I believe that the theory is very important when you are starting out in implant dentistry and the FID course definitely gets you off on the right foot.
I was very impressed at the quality of the teaching from some of the most experienced implant dentists in the UK, including Dr Shakeel Shahdad, Prof Nikos Donos and Dr Nikos Mardas. Between them they have a vast amount of experience, and I found them to be very open and honest about real life situations in practice, both good, and occasionally not so good. It would be easy for the experts to just say how good they are at placing implants, but that’s not what the delegates need, nor what they did. It’s just as important to learn about the things that can go wrong as well as the vast majority of cases with highly successful outcomes.
The FID modular course is spread over six months and you successfully completed the course in September. What has been happening in that time?
The most significant thing I’ve done is to partner with my mentor, Michael Betteridge. Michael is a specialist oral surgeon who is very experienced in providing not just oral surgery care in the primary care environment, but also a highly-regarded dental implant service, and is therefore ideally suited to being a mentor.
Are you looking to now move on to an MSc course or similar in implant dentistry or is mentoring giving you everything you currently need?
For the time being, with the help of Michael, my plan is to first get the basics right in practice before considering moving onto further education and I’m already in the process of planning my first implant cases. It can be a bit daunting when you first start out, but it’s probably more a fear of the unknown and that’s why a mentor is such a good idea to guide you over those first hurdles until you find your feet.
How have you found the support from Straumann – do you plan to place Straumann implants?
Yes, that’s my plan. Straumann are market leaders and when you are starting out you want to place the implant that offers the best chance of long-term success and is backed by a huge amount of research.
The support they offer is terrific and our local Straumann representative Hayley has been a great help in terms of my surgery set-up and making sure I have everything I need to get me started. Everyone at Straumann really knows what they are doing and if I have any problems I know they are there to help. It’s about the whole support package – not just the implant.
What are your plans now going forward?
I want to be doing a lot more than just placing the occasional implant. My aim is to eventually place something in the region of 100 implants a year and be in a position to accept referrals from local colleagues.
Finally, would you recommend the FID course to other GDPs?
Yes, I would definitely recommend this course – it’s ideal for any clinician looking to get the best start in a career in implant dentistry.
In association with Straumann, the next ITI Foundation in Implant Dentistry course begins in February 2018. For further information or to reserve your place, please call the Straumann Education Department on +44 (0) 1293 651270 or visit iti.org/uk
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Broad Street Dental Surgery, Broadway House, 32-35 Broad Street, Hereford HR4 9AR
Andrew Farr BDS(Hons), MJDF RCS Eng
Andrew joined Broad Street Dental Surgery, Hereford in October 2014. Born and raised in Caerphilly, South Wales he studied dentistry at the University of Cardiff, graduating with honours. He completed his vocational training in Plymouth, then spent a year as a Maxillofacial Senior House Officer at Derriford Hospital where his duties included emergencies in A&E, head and neck surgery and wisdom tooth removal. He has developed an interest in orthodontics and is qualified to offer Quick Straight Teeth short-term orthodontics.