My First Hahn™ Tapered Implant: The Value of Mentorship in Implant Dentistry
Dr. Jay Oakey is a general dentist who began placing implants soon after opening his practice 10 years ago. Since then, implants have become an increasingly large part of his practice, and he is now providing treatment for the full range of indications. Here, he discusses why he switched to the Hahn™ Tapered Implant System a few years ago, his experience taking a course taught by Dr. Jack Hahn, and how he became so confident with his skill set that he rarely refers patients out for implant surgery.
CHAIRSIDE ® MAGAZINE: When did you first take an interest in the surgical aspect of implant treatment, and why?
DR. JAY OAKEY: I actually began placing implants within a few months of graduating from dental school, so I’ve been doing it for more than a decade. I wanted implants to be a key part of my practice from day one because I believed that implants were important to the future of dentistry and that my patients would want to receive treatment from me, as their general dentist. So I pursued implant placement as quickly as I could and got some training under my belt.
CM: Where did you receive your initial training, and what additional continuing education have you taken over the years?
JO: I’ve taken just about every kind of implant course you can find, including quite a few through Glidewell. I’ve taken one taught by Dr. Paresh Patel on full-arch implant treatment, which thoroughly covered the restorative procedures but also talked a lot about the surgical aspect. I also took a great course with Dr. Jack Hahn on immediate implant placement in 2019.
CM: Had you ever immediately placed implants into extraction sites prior to attending that course?
JO: Prior to taking Dr. Hahn’s course, typically, if someone came to me with a broken tooth in the esthetic zone, I would take it out, do some bone grafting and send the patient home with a flipper. The patient would come back, I’d place the implant, and then we’d wait another four months to restore the case. I was looking to become more proficient with the “emergency” implant procedure and learn how to do immediate provisionalization.
His course really gave me the knowledge and confidence to handle the surgical protocol so that I could offer this service to my patients on a regular basis. And it’s great because immediate implant placement cuts down on the healing time, and patient satisfaction goes way up because there’s only one surgical procedure and they don’t have to wear something removable during the healing phase. It’s really been a game changer for anterior implants in my practice.
CM: What was it like learning from Dr. Hahn?
JO: In addition to the specific techniques and surgical principles behind immediate implant placement and provisionalization, I acquired a tremendous amount of knowledge through his mentorship. I’ve contacted him several times since the class and he quickly responds to me. He is very available to help, mentor, and answer any questions I have, which I really appreciate. That’s not an experience you always have with other instructors, especially from someone of his stature in the field of implant dentistry.
When I took the class, I was beginning to do implants for fixed full-arch restorations, and I even asked him questions about this because I knew that was certainly in his wheelhouse. He was more than happy to help me with cases like that even though it wasn’t the topic of the course. I sent him X-rays and he provided guidance to help me through the surgeries. He really helped build my confidence for procedures that have now become very important in my practice.
CM: How did attending Dr. Hahn’s course change the way you approach these types of cases?
JO: I was able to confidently perform this procedure for my patients, and I had the skills to do it. When I returned to the office, I trained my staff on how to handle these cases right away, specifically how to create the provisional crowns for immediately placed implants, because they’re the ones who typically handle that part of the procedure. This is now something we’re doing weekly in my practice, and patients absolutely love it.
CM: And now you’re using the Hahn™ Tapered Implant System (Glidewell Direct; Irvine, Calif.)?
JO: Yes. I’ve used several implant systems in the past, including implants from Nobel Biocare and Blue Sky Bio. I liked Blue Sky Bio’s low cost, but I really wasn’t satisfied with the results. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in the product, and they weren’t really helping me with my skill set. But I continued to place them because of the price point and buying really expensive implants just wasn’t something that I was going to be able to justify with the fees that I was charging people.
Then a few years ago, the Hahn system was recommended by a good friend from dental school. I had confidently been using Glidewell for years for restorative purposes. So when I heard Glidewell had come out with the Hahn implant, it was something I was certainly willing to try. I was already familiar with Dr. Hahn’s name and his legacy, and I knew the implant was named as the official system of the Misch-Resnik Implant Institute, which lends a lot of credibility. When I saw that the implant was offered at a price point that works really well for me and my practice, it was a no-brainer to give Hahn a try.
CM: How did the transition go when you added Hahn to your practice?
JO: It was seamless. The surgical protocol is great and includes a user-friendly sequence of osteotomy drills. Everything that I need or could want is in the surgical kit. One thing I did not like about the system I was previously using was the lack of an aggressive thread — you had to place your implant exactly where your osteotomy was. A nice thing about the Hahn implant is its aggressive threads because I can alter the direction of the implant, even while I’m placing it. I’ve certainly found that with something like an immediate implant, you want aggressive threads that achieve high primary stability right from the get-go.
I’ve used the Hahn implant for pretty much every situation you can imagine, from single-tooth replacement to full-arch indications. I’ve grown so confident with my implant placement since switching to Hahn that I don’t really refer out any implants to specialists these days. My skill set has gotten to the point where, if an implant is needed and the clinical circumstances allow for implant placement, I can do it.
CM: Can you share your first or a particularly memorable experience placing the Hahn implant?
JO: Sure. My anesthesiologist does a ton of big implant cases with me. She called me on the day I got back from my course with Dr. Hahn and said: “My father-in-law broke off his very front tooth at the gum line. Do you think you could see him?” This potentially seemed like the perfect case to apply what I learned at the course, so I had him come in. The tooth definitely needed to come out and there was plenty of healthy bone to work with. I told him we could take the tooth out, place the implant and put an immediate provisional crown on it. I told him, “That way you can have a tooth while you heal.” He was blown away that something like that could be done all in one appointment and that he wouldn’t have to walk around toothless.
We let the patient heal, he came back after four months, and we restored the case. The bone and implant both looked great. The patient was happy and so was my anesthesiologist. This procedure has meant a lot to my patients. People’s time is precious, and they’re usually taking off work or time out of their life to come see you. They have anxiety, they have fears, and they don’t want to be numbed-up multiple times for dental procedures. So if you can handle it all in one procedure, that’s something they definitely appreciate.
CM: How have implants helped you build your practice?
JO: I learned that this was something that people wanted and were willing to invest in. When I realized what an edge implants could provide my practice, I started learning as much as I could and adding the necessary tools and technology to my practice.
Your implant patients have friends, neighbors and family members who want the same thing and are going to come see you because they heard about your patient’s experience. Five years ago, I was doing a fraction of the implants that I am now doing. Now I’m placing implants every single day in my practice. There are days when I’m doing multiple full-arch cases and I’m placing 25 implants in one day. And that’s a phenomenal thing for my practice, for my team, and really for the community I serve, who can receive all the treatment they need in one location.