An ideal route into implantology

on 8th August 2019


The UCLan MSc in clinical implantology delivered by VSS Academy offers clinicians a part-time academic course with all the knowledge and experience needed to begin placing and restoring implants. Here lead lecturer, Fadi Barrak, describes how the course is an ideal route into implant dentistry.

When I started placing implants over 20 years ago I didn’t think I would ever be training others in implantology, but as time progressed I really started enjoying mentoring people in the restorative aspect. Now I’m much more involved with training and with UCLan as well and it’s a great pleasure seeing delegates from years ago not only placing implants, but also being referred to by other dentists. Some of my ex-MSc students are working with me now, as part of the faculty.

When looking at new ideas we need to be able to discern what is actually evidence-based and what is potentially risky because it has no evidence behind it. Because the MSc in implant dentistry is an academic degree delegates learn to be critical of research that has been done and also be critical of what people say in lectures.

In fact, a great advantage of the MSc in clinical implantology is that it teaches delegates to be critical of whatever people tell them and gives confidence in making decisions. Doing an MSc provides the skills to actually be able to look at a topic, do research and decide if it is something to use in a clinical practice. Or, alternatively, it may be decided that there is not enough evidence to support it yet.

A variety of experience and backgrounds

Anyone with reasonable experience of restorative dentistry and a good surgical understanding would be ideally suited to doing this MSc course. Experience of placing implants helps, but it’s not a necessity. Many of our delegates have never placed or restored an implant, others have placed dozens, and a few have placed hundreds. All the courses we run at the VSS Academy have delegates with a variety of experience and backgrounds, which is always a great thing.

Minimised practice disruption

The UCLan MSc course is a two-year part-time programme with five clinical days in year one and 10 in year two. The course is also comprised of 12 knowledge modules in year one, which are all held on Saturdays to minimise disruption to delegates’ usual practice schedules. The course aims to develop a critical understanding of and the ability to evaluate the clinical theory, practice and associated research applied to the practice of dental implantology. The focus is on contemporary practice, teaching evidence-based principles and systems to ensure an optimal outcome for the patient and practitioner.

Delegates are taught to go through all the important milestones of a case: assessment; CBCT training; managing the surgical and restorative aspects; and review and maintenance of the case. The highlights of the course include placing and restoring implants in three-four patients over 15 clinical days, treating real patients under supervision, full CBCT training, a digital workflow and laboratory training day and fresh cadaver training. Delegates then have access to ongoing post-course support, optional mentoring and VSS Academy alumni events.


The Glasgow cohort of the UCLan MSc in clinical implantology begins in September 2019 and the Birmingham cohort begins in October 2019. For more information or to book your place visit vssacademy.co.uk/course-list, email courses@vssacademy.co.uk or call 020 8012 8400.

Dr Fadi Barrak is a mentor for the Association of Dental Implantology and the ITI. He has been placing implants since 1998, constituting over 90% of his clinical work. Having always been interested in clinical education, he has had the privilege of mentoring numerous colleagues over the years who range from beginners to experienced surgeons. Dr Barrak has a combined experience in oral and maxillofacial surgery in both hospital and primary care settings since 1994.


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