Implanting education into practice
As the recently-elected president of the Association of Dental Implantology (ADI), Abid Faqir is determined to do all he can to support the ongoing development of the association, working alongside his fellow committee members
Abid Faqir is the fourth Scots (or Scottish-based) president in ADI history, and, as he settles into his two-year term of office, he has a clear set of goals.
“The ADI aims to promote education for implant dentistry, promote implant dentistry to the public, improve the options available to patients, and let them know what to expect from the discipline. My plan is to continue concentrating on these areas.
“Among other things, that means continuing to develop ADI’s patient-focused website ‘Considering dental implants’, as well as the organisation’s own site. That’s a valuable space that gives dentist members, and those who want to join up, information about implant dentistry events and guidelines and protocols.
Any dentists who want to get involved in implant dentistry, whether they are novices or old hands, should become ADI members
“Both that and our Facebook page for members also helps people create a network of like-minded individuals where the can share thoughts and ideas.
“My aim is to try to improve and develop those platforms as well as enhance member benefits, increase membership numbers and continue to collaborate with industry, course providers and other bodies important to implant dentistry. It’s particularly important to meet and discuss current issues with the GDC and the defence unions.”
The ADI hosts a range of events throughout the year. One notable occasion is the ADI Focus Meeting at the ICC in Birmingham on 17 November, which will have five top speakers coming from across the world to discuss new ideas in implant dentistry.
“We are always looking at keeping ourselves ahead of the game,” said Abid.
Masters of destiny
Abid provides implant dentistry at the Scottish Centre for Dental Excellence, based in Govan, Glasgow and is co-owner of Ecco dental group, a privately-owned mini corporate with practices throughout Scotland.
His own history with implant dentistry goes back to his completion of a Masters in Primary Care in 2003 – he’d qualified in dentistry in 1999 and has achieved Membership of the RCSEd.
“During the Primary Care programme I got the chance to place my first implant, although the first occasion in practice didn’t come until the end of 2004. From the start, I enjoyed the surgical aspect of it and implant dentistry became something I was keen to learn more about.”
It became his main focus in 2006 when he undertook an extensive overseas course and spent a lot of time learning as much as possible, finding out about the limits and possibilities of implant dentistry.
That experience taught him about the need for a structured pathway for learning – something he’d recommend for anyone keen to find out more about the topic. “The way to start is to take a short course so that you get some understanding of what implant dentistry is. Thereafter, you should look for something that’s a bit more long- term and intense and allows you to place implants. As part of such a course, it’s good to have someone watching over you who can mentor you long-term.”
A member of ADI for more than 10 years, Abid got involved at committee level approximately five years ago when he became regional representative for Scotland. Following on from that, he was elected as treasurer for two years and then voted in as president-elect for another 24 months.
“Paul Stone was the first Scottish, or Scottish-based president in 2003, followed by Stephen Jacobs, then Philip Friel. Our numbers are going to go up again – after my term of office is up, the current president elect, Eimear O’Connell of Edinburgh, will follow on.
“I’m lucky to know every past president extremely well, both professionally and personally. From speaking to them about cases to travelling with them on courses they have been closely involved in my career.”
Abid sought the counsel of those former-president colleagues when he was considering running for the post, and all were extremely encouraging. “Initially, I was worried about the time commitments and especially did not want to miss out on time with my children. I knew a lot of travel to London would be involved, but it’s something I wanted and needed to do – I want to give back to the profession in any way I can.”
His time as president-elect provided good preparation. He was involved in helping the then president – Craig Parker – to promote initiatives and events and, where necessary, helping to make sure long-running projects proceeded as intended.
As well as valuing the benefits the ADI provides for his fellow professionals, Abid’s determination to see the organisation continue to flourish stems from personal experience. “The ADI has been very important for me because, as a UK-based association, it’s helped shape my career.
“Young dentists and those who are new to implant dentistry need direction and to be in touch with people who have either been through, or are going through, a similar career path. There’s no better way to do that than be part of an organisation like ADI. I’d say that any dentists who want to get involved in implant dentistry, whether they are novices or old hands, should become members of ADI.”
Implant dentistry is not considered a speciality by the GDC – it’s a sub topic of a number of other specialisms. Abid believes it will always remain the preserve of general practice.
“This is a personal opinion, but I don’t think it will ever be made a speciality. The majority of implant dentistry is fairly straightforward and can be done in general practice by well-trained and experienced dentists. Nevertheless, it’s a very important part of dentistry. The vital factor for patients is that it allows them to get a solution that’s as close to their own teeth as possible and they can continue to function without resorting to dentures.”
Looking forward, his hopes are based around the continuing development of ADI and those practices he is involved with, as well as delivering good, reliable care to his patients.
“On a personal level, I’d like to spend more time with my kids and help them develop their future. Who knows, in time if they decide on dentistry as a career it would be nice to give them any help I could.”
ADI comes to Edinburgh
A significant amount of Abid’s time as president will be spent in helping to ensure the success of the 2019 ADI congress, which will take place at the EICC in Edinburgh. The congress is always a special occasion and Abid is delighted it’s being held in Scotland during his presidency. “We chose Edinburgh because we wanted a location that would be appealing to delegates.”
About the ADI
The Association of Dental Implantology (ADI) is a registered charity dedicated to providing the dental profession with implant education and the public with a greater understanding of the benefits of dental implants. Its roots were established in 1986 when a small group of dentists set up the London Study Club as a means of providing general dental practitioners with access to advances in implantology. The ADI was incorporated and charitable status as an educational body granted in May 1988. It has more than 2,000 active members across the UK.