Self-discipline on the part of dentists who supply dental implants might be the only defense against substandard implant quality, as the government has no effective quality control mechanism in this area, a Department of Health (DOH) official said.
Chou Tao-chun (周道君), a section chief of the DOH’s Bureau of Medical Affairs, said that while dentists are allowed to perform the procedure, there is no system to guarantee their competence.
He urged patients to check whether their dentists have received certification from professional groups before getting implants.
Taipei resident Wang Kang-yu (王康裕) said that he contracted periodontal disease from dental implants that were substandard, which he received a decade ago.
Wang’s current dentist, Chen Liang-chou (陳亮州), who treated Wang’s dental problems, said substandard tooth implants often cause dental problems that, without treatment, could lead to the loss of the implants.
Tsai Yi-min (蔡逸民), an executive of Taiwan’s Academy of Oral Implantology (AOI), said Taiwanese customers buy around 100,000 dental implants every year, but added that most local dentistry schools do not provide enough training in the procedure.
Those who want to perfect their technique have to seek training on their own, for which many travel abroad. But even overseas training can be hasty and is no guarantee of quality, Tsai said.
In addition to the uneven standards among dentists, the market is also chaotic in terms of price levels for both materials and procedures, with the price of a complete dental implant ranging from NT$30,000 to NT$100,000, Tsai said.
Another health official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Taiwan has about 15,000 practicing dentists, but only about 1,000 are members of either the AOI or the only other professional organization in the field, the International Congress of Oral Implantology in Taiwan.
An AOI executive said that only about 140 of the academy’s members have been granted dental implant certification by the academy, a process in which members apply to receive evaluation from the academy. The evaluation process, which takes about two years, is considered proof that a member has outstanding dental implant skills.