Dr. Tom Balshi, the founder of the Pi Dental Center, was one of the first board certified prosthodontists to place dental implants. To him, it only seemed the natural thing to do. No architect wants to build his building on another man’s foundation. Something is lost in the vision of the final result. For the prosthodontist, building a smile with perfect occlusion means building it on implants set exactly where he wants them. This is the mantra that has shaped Pi’s treatment protocols for the past twenty-nine years.
Such a perfect world has not existed in prosthodontic offices across the country, and for a very long time there was controversy over the appropriateness of prosthodontists engaging in surgical procedures. The pros and cons were at odds until enough education seeped through the corridors that even students saw the patient benefit of dental implant treatment all under a single specialist’s care. Eventually the American College of Prosthodontists banded together for the sake of their patients to be sanctioned as the primary deliverers of surgical and prosthetic dental implant restorations, and a strategic plan was made to aggressively seek approval.
Today the jubilant letter arrived in Fort Washington from Dr. Frank Tuminelli, the current president of the American College of Prosthodontists, announcing that the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) has approved and will adopt the surgical placement of dental implants as an integral part of the training of all new prosthodontists.
For the Pi team in Fort Washington, this is a tremendous victory. It underscores a concept we have known is right and have fought to achieve for three decades. In Dr. Tuminelli’s own words, our profession has forever changed for the better…and we can care for patients with the level of expertise they deserve.
For those seeking dental implants now and for those who will seek them in the future, this is also a milestone. The comfort of having expeditious treatment under one roof will be much more accessible. Not every prosthodontist will elect to provide the treatment, but wherever the credentials of a board certified prosthodontist are displayed, there will be expert guidance for dental implant patients, and with their colleagues, the promise of predictable success.