Where entrepreneurial spirit meets discernment

Editorial note: The following blog was written following an interview with Dr. Todd Engel, as a result of the increasing demand for dental implants. Continuing Education on this topic is one of the most requested areas by general dentists in recent years. By 2020, it is estimated that 3.5 million implants will be sold in the United States.

An outlet for creativity

It’s common for dentists to be looking for ways to increase productivity in their practice. This month we have the honor to introduce you to CWA client Dr. Todd Engel. Dr. Engel is a North Carolina general dentist who combined his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for implantology to not only grow his practice, but to empower general dentists across the nation to grow their clinical abilities.

Starting in dental school, Dr. Engel gravitated toward oral surgery. He found he had a passion for implants and felt like it provided him with the outlet for creativity he craved. He says, “when you love something, you find yourself naturally putting in time and effort into learning all you can to be better at it.”

Dr. Engel has always been a natural communicator and educator, and when he started becoming successful at placing implants as a GP, he felt drawn to share his experience with others.

Where live patient training comes to life

Dr. Engel transformed his private practice into The Engel Institute in 2005 as a facility where professionals can be trained on placing implants. At that time, The Engel Institute was the first private company in the U.S. to have live patient education. Unlike other training centers, Dr. Engel does not feel one can truly learn from foam, resin or pig jaws and wanted to offer post-graduate dental education the same way they do at dental school.

Courses start quite basic, teaching dentists how to use both their hands and mind, and then move into subsequent courses to deep dive into different areas of predictable care such as extraction techniques, grafting concepts and large restorative cases such as the very popular immediate full arch cases.

The backbone of the learning is the M1-Mentoring Course, which includes two pre-surgery days and one hands-on day with a live surgical procedure. Upon completion of this three-day course, doctors are qualified and trained to place implants.

Adding implants to treatment plan services can increase production by 17-25%, through taking cases one might otherwise refer out. On average, Engel Institute graduates place 40-50 implants per year after attending the first course, with the course cost usually paid back after placing their first two implants.

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Dr. Engel

Not to mention, the demand for implants is increasing. By 2020, it is estimated that 3.5 million implants will be sold in the United States. “Due to social media and online search engines, it’s become common for patients to come into their GP’s office asking for implants by name as a missing tooth solution,” Dr. Engel said.

Consumers know what they want and have pushed dental implants to become the fastest growing dental platform in the GP market. This is no longer the quiet sub-specialty of dental care, it’s part of a majority of offered treatment plans today.


The most important skill

Through this unique training, one of the most important lessons Dr. Engel aims to teach his students is discernment.

“It’s more important to understand and learn what you’re not capable of, compared to what you are,” he said.

He wants each doctor to know their independent clinical ability and talent—and their case acceptance must match that. It is not his purpose to have general dentists placing every single implant that comes through their door, but rather to practice the level of clinical ability to accept the cases they should and pass on those they shouldn’t.

Currently The Engel Institute is in its 17th year of operation with over 12,000 alumni, 90% of which are placing implants. Dr. Engel remains true to one of his core values of “helping doctors understand their personal capabilities so that they know which cases to take, and which to avoid in order to offer the best patient care.”

The Engel Institute’s courses sell out quickly. To view a schedule of upcoming seminars, visit engelinstitute.com/schedule.