In 1981, PI Branemark introduced the global medical community to a new treatment for edentulism. At the time, many thought this would open the way to a whole new era in dentistry. The surprising fact of the matter is, however, when we compare implant dentistry then and now, in 2016, we are faced with the question, ‘why is implantology probably no more reliable now than it was in the 1980s?’. This is despite the fact that today we know much more about the biology and biomechanics of implant dentistry than we did then, as demonstrated in the innumerable scientific publications that deal with these fields of activity.
It is undeniable that many practitioners are beginning to question the supposed infallibility of implants. If we draw a comparison with the world of aviation, we can see that if we want to improve safety in any sphere of activity that involves any kind of human input, it is not enough to concentrate purely on the technical aspects of that activity. Commercial aviation started to become a safer mode of transport when the role of human factors and behavioural paterns in the occurrence of complications and accidents began to come under the spotlight. We are only just starting to explore the impact of human factors in medicine – and we haven’t even begun this process in the fields of dentistry and implant dentistry.