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ADI Welcomes New President, Zaki Kanaan


The Association of Dental Implantology (ADI) is a community of professionals dedicated to education, skill development and raising patient awareness of dental implants. It is one of the largest dental organisations in the UK with close to 3,000 members. As Amit Patel steps down following a successful 2 years, taking the helm of this progressive organisation as of November 2023 is Dr Zaki Kanaan, a well-known and respected name in the profession. Zaki runs his own private dental practice alongside his wife Dominique, also a dentist. Here he reflects on his journey with the ADI so far:

I completed an MSc in Implantology in 2001, and have predominantly focused on treatments involving dental implants since then. However, I also have a strong background and interest in cosmetic dentistry, which led me to join, help establish and later become President of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD). This experience, over 10 years, showed me just how much work is involved in such a role, how much personal time you have to dedicate BUT also how rewarding it can be! 

Having left the BACD position, I really thought my time being involved in such roles was over. While lecturing abroad, however, I met incoming ADI President Craig Parker (now Past President), who was interested to learn more about my experience heading a similar organisation just before he began his own term. After a long chat over lunch, both he and Peter Fairbairn encouraged me to get involved with the ADI. After turning it down for a very long time, I was somehow elected onto the board. It then took me several months to tell my wife – who knew the extra commitment that would be involved! What I realised was that I felt a void after leaving my BACD role and how much I liked being part of an organisation in this way, helping younger colleagues to get involved in implant dentistry, improving existing implant dentists’ skills and improving patient outcomes in this field. I felt that I had a lot to offer the association, especially as implants are the mainstay of my work.”

The ADI offers an array of member benefits, including access to prestigious research journals, specifically designed note taking templates with Kiroku, free premium membership to Dentinal Tubules, free patient information leaflets and free or discounted access to a range of ADI educational events. More than this, the ADI is a family of like-minded professionals who help, motivate and mentor each other to excel, share best practice and facilitate career development. 

Zaki highlights what he feels are the greatest benefits of the ADI:

“Since implant dentistry is not taught at dental school, you have to be proactive in learning it after qualifying. It’s very different to cosmetic dentistry, where you know how to do most procedures already, you simply need to improve your techniques over time and take some courses. With implants, you have to start the learning process from scratch in most cases and going on a weekend course is not enough. The ADI provides a bridge between qualifying as a general dentist and becoming a successful implant dentist. It helps to nurture young clinicians, enabling them to gain the skills and confidence to deliver implant treatment safely, effectively and predictably, thus improving the availability of high-quality implant treatment for patients. As a registered charity, our remit includes reaching the public and improving their experience of implant dentistry.”

Among the key challenges of implantology that Zaki believes the ADI helps clinicians to overcome, is the that of mentoring. He continues:

Mentoring has always been a challenge in implantology – you can’t just attend a day course and then start placing implants in practice the next day. Each case is different and may require a different approach, so there will constantly be situations you haven’t faced before and you have to be confident with everything from placement techniques to soft tissue management, restorative solutions and digital concepts. Even if using surgical guides, the clinician must still be able to avoid or manage complications when the need arises. Mentoring is important while working through these skills and building clinical competence. This is why the ADI has been proactive at building a more formal mentoring pathway, to better support members as they develop their abilities.

Zaki with former president Amit Patel at the Members' National Forum in November 2023.

Continuing to look ahead, Zaki is keen to build on the work already achieved by the ADI during his time as President. He says:

The Next Gen Committee was established within the ADI this year and a dedicated stream was presented at the Team Congress 2023 designed to cater for dentists who are new to dental implantology. The lifeblood of any organisation is the next generation coming through and it’s essential that we help young dentists get the best start to their career in implantology

The ADI is proud to have become an inclusive and diverse organisation, one that everyone is welcome to get involved with. As the first female ADI President, Eimear O’Connell showed our commitment to this and I hope to build on this further in the years to come. In addition to those new to implants, we’re actively looking to give our female members a greater platform to lecture and teach, as well as to join at board level. We have some fantastic clinicians in the association and it’s essential that they have the opportunity and the confidence to demonstrate their talents and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. 

We also hope to make board and committee positions more accessible and are therefore looking to update our board structure. This will allow individuals to get involved at a level and a time commitment they are most comfortable with. In doing so, we hope to create a more flexible pathway and thus encourage people who would otherwise not have considered such a position to get involved.

Finally, I aim to bring cosmetic and implant dentistry closer together, as they really do go hand in hand and this will be evident at the next Team Congress in 2025. Many dentists today are placing and restoring implants, so it’s important that they can achieve a highly aesthetic as well as functional outcome and as such, cosmetic techniques are essential to many implant dentists’ daily work.

It’s a privilege to have been President of one, let alone two prestigious UK dental organisations, so I really am honoured to be elected as ADI President and I will not take the role lightly. I’m looking forward to taking the organisation through this next phase of its evolution and will give the ADI and its members my blood, sweat and tears.

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