ITI Foundation in Implant Dentistry: A “truly unique” implant training opportunity
The Foundation in Implant Dentistry (FID) presented by the International Team for Implantology (ITI) offers UK clinicians blended learning implant education designed for those who wish to get involved in the field without an immediate long-term commitment.
At the recent launch of the 2020 cohort, Course Director, Eoin O’Sullivan, highlighted what he feels make the course stand out from others: “The FID is clinicians’ first step on their journey into dental implantology. The course itself is a very structured programme based on science and supported by a very experienced training faculty.
“We have gone to great lengths to ensure that the FID course is a highly relatable programme and is accessible to dentists from all kinds of backgrounds.”
Logical, patient-centred approach
Charlotte Stilwell, ITI President-Elect, was keen to show how the teaching offers a practical and patient-centred approach to the field. Having founded the FID 10 years ago, her continued involvement has provided a unique level of continuity and drive.
She said: “The first module looks at a case presentation and discusses all possible treatment options before exploring implants within this patient focused context. It’s about providing treatment in the best interests of patients from the very beginning. The programme is structured in the same way to ensure delegates approach each situation just as they would in practice.
“This ensures the practicality of the course, allowing delegates to easily apply what they learn to everyday clinical scenarios. This also keeps patients at the heart of everything clinicians do to optimise the patient journey.
“We have worked hard to keep the programme relevant to the clinician. It teaches exactly what dentists need to know, at the foundation level of implant dentistry. The ITI SAC Classification categorisation of implant cases into ‘straightforward’, ‘advanced’ and ‘complex’ greatly assists with this.
“It is a clear learning outcome of the first module of the FID that participating clinicians learn to use this globally accepted and adopted Classification to distinguish between cases in each group. After this, the programme focuses on ‘straightforward’ cases to ensure delegates progress within their remit.”
Ross Cutts, ITI Fellow and course speaker, went on to highlight the role of mentoring: “The aim of the course is to teach clinicians to provide safe, predictable and effective implant treatment. The mentoring programme is therefore crucial – you don’t know what you don’t know and only a more experienced dentist can highlight any potential issues before they occur.”
Charlotte agreed: “We defined the mentoring criteria for the FID from the outset to ensure that delegates work with mentors who have the appropriate knowledge, expertise and experience. Delegates have access to the ITI register of mentors, or they can work with other colleagues they know to meet the criteria we have recommended to ensure the quality of mentorship they receive.”
Introducing digital dentistry
Eoin continued: “For this year we have added a digital module in order to offer training beyond the foundation level. It extends the learning experience for delegates to include didactic teaching that caters up to an intermediate level of the ITI Curriculum. I feel that digital is becoming an everyday part of the implant workflow and important to include within the FID course.”
Ross added: “I believe digital dentistry makes dental implant procedures more predictable with less operator error, especially for less experienced dentists. Once digital techniques and technologies are mastered, dentists can greatly improve their clinical outcomes.”
All delegates on the course are also introduced to the ITI community of more than 21,000 members and the enormous evidence base that the ITI adheres to, which provides access to a comprehensive education resource.
Colin Burns, ITI Fellow and a speaker on the course explained: “There are no other courses with access to a unique resource like the ITI’s, which includes its own Academy and curriculum. The problem with some implant training is that it is over-complicated. Clinicians need to develop from a solid foundation of knowledge. The FID and ITI community facilitate this.”
Ross said: “The best aspect of the ITI for me, is the sense of family and belonging you get as a member. Everyone is very welcoming and inclusive.”
Straumann has worked with the ITI for several decades and continues supporting the FID today. Colin explained: “Educational courses of a certain calibre can only exist today with commercial support. However, it’s important for education to retain independence from commercial influence to avoid any bias and maintain its integrity.
“We have had a strong relationship with Straumann for the last 40 years. We believe in the way that Straumann products support the FID, which is why we choose to use and teach them.”
Charlotte added: “Our relationship with Straumann provides the ideal partnership between industry and a scientifically independent global academic organisation. The company satisfies our criteria for evidence-based products, which we utilise to demonstrate all the implant solutions we use and teach.”
The FID provides a stepping stone into further postgraduate education – it is a recognised credit towards an MSc in implant dentistry or enables delegates to progress through the ITI education pathway.
Colin summarised the course: “For me, the key features of the FID are that it provides an engaging and structured programme with flexibility to suit clinicians that have other professional or personal commitments.”
Charlotte concluded: “This course provides an excellent introduction to implant dentistry with a comprehensive, controlled and yet not overwhelming programme. In addition, it is backed by the national and global ITI network and a wealth of educational resources, providing support for clinicians’ ongoing journey into the field of dental implantology.”
For more information about the FID and future cohorts, go to https://www.straumann.com/en/dental-professionals/training-and-education.html