Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Vancouver MaxiCourse aligned with the American Academy of Implant Dentistry?

Three main reasons: official credentials, legitimacy and authority, and international recognition.

The American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) is an internationally renowned organization and a leader in the continuing education of dentists in oral implantology. The AAID sets the curriculum for all MaxiCourse programs around the world, and all MaxiCourse programs contribute to the written portion of the Associate Fellow exam. Completion of the Vancouver MaxiCourse earns you an AAID MaxiCourse Certificate.

vancouver maxicourse completion certificate

The benefits to you: internationally recognized credentials and programs in place to continue your journey in implant dentistry. The MaxiCourse is an introductory program to the field of oral implantology. Upon completion of both the written exam (available at the end of the MaxiCourse) as well as the case presentation and oral exam, dentists earn the title Associate Fellow. With this title comes an official certificate, similar to your diplomas and degrees (see left).

Continuing education and surgical experience in implant dentistry can eventually earn you the title of Fellow with the AAID. Following that, the final step is to apply to become a board-certified oral implantologist with the American Board of Oral Implantology.

 

Why is the Vancouver MaxiCourse a ten-month program?

The Vancouver MaxiCourse is a highly comprehensive oral implantology program. Each single didactic module covers a wealth of material, and critical content builds on itself as the year progresses. Preparing for each module requires a commitment to reviewing chapters from Dr. Carl Misch’s textbook, Contemporary Implant Dentistry, as well as other texts selected by our speakers and course director.

More than half of the ten modules also includes two days of clinical work. Participants are encouraged to bring their own patients from their dental office to the program. There are many hours involved in preparing an implant surgery case, and we have created a program that encourages collaboration through the sharing of case work-ups. Surgical mentors, fully credentialed by the AAID and ABOI, provide guidance and support for each participant and their treatment planning. The dialogue that this provides also takes time, so a month in between each session is important for both textbook review as well as in-depth treatment planning.

 

Is there a clinical component to the Vancouver MaxiCourse?

YES! The Vancouver MaxiCourse is proud to provide the most robust and extensive surgical experience of any MaxiCourse available. We have roughly a 50/50 split between didactic education and surgical sessions.

At any time within our surgical sessions, you have the opportunity to perform surgery, assist a fellow participant with their surgery, provide photography assistance to a surgery, or observe the surgery. Surgical cases are discussed at length, with time spent discussing treatment planning, treatment options, surgical approaches, and the rationale behind everything we do. We firmly believe in planning with the end in mind and working back from that to achieve the desired result.

In addition to surgeries, we have numerous hands-on workshops on a variety of topics, from bone density labs to suturing, as well as the Surgical Anatomy cadaver course in December with hours spent in the Anatomy Lab on cadavers.

 

What implant systems can I expect to learn throughout the program?

The short answer – any system you are interested in working with. While we have select implant companies actively endorsing our program and attending each session, we do not cater to any particular implant system. Implant dentistry is not a one-size-fits-all industry and we work to introduce students to multiple points of view and multiple implant systems, each system with its own strengths and weaknesses. For specific questions regarding systems you’ve worked with and wish to learn more on, please inquire with our education coordinator.

 

I am brand new to implant dentistry and have yet to place any implants in my career. Is the Vancouver MaxiCourse a suitable place for me to start my oral implantology education?

We understand that many people begin their implant education in a surgical study club, and having run our own surgical study clubs for many years, we have seen the clinical growth of our members first-hand. That being said, we also recognize that the staff and time frame of most study clubs are limiting factors in providing a comprehensive foundation for dentists’ education in oral implantology. While there is tremendous value in taking surgical study clubs, as we cannot emphasize enough the importance of hands-on training and applying your knowledge, the vast majority of those clubs contain little or no didactic content and ultimately “you don’t know what you don’t know”.

Our program starts from square one when it comes to oral implantology and walks you through the process of gathering the knowledge and skills necessary to progress in this field of dentistry. As a result, this is the perfect place for you to start. We encourage our graduates to continue their education through the Vancouver Implant Continuum study club or other implant study clubs available, but for the depth of knowledge and skills needed in oral implantology, this is the ideal starting point. A typical study club cannot provide you with the one-on-one personal attention and depth of knowledge that this can. And as one of our participants has commented, “You hit the ground running on day one.”

We feel that surgical study clubs are a means of building on the knowledge base of the MaxiCourse. They come after the MaxiCourse. We are setting a foundation.

 

Conversely:
I am an experienced clinician in implant dentistry and have been placing implants for a while. Is the Vancouver MaxiCourse going to be challenging enough to be a worthwhile pursuit this coming year?

This is a fair question to ask, especially considering our response to the previous question. The simple answer – yes.

Our very first year of the MaxiCourse, the vast majority of our class were experienced clinicians. Many went on to become fully-fledged Associate Fellows of the AAID, with two Fellows amongst them… and you do need 300 didactic hours of CE to challenge the Associate Fellow exam.

But beyond that, their feedback from that year:  Tremendous value from attending the MaxiCourse, regardless of their past experience and coursework. An analogy may help to illustrate why:

Elementary school teachers typically teach it all, the most difficult subject being math. A grade 4 student going into grade 5 is likely to have a few holes in their knowledge base, which only widen with a new curriculum if not caught and corrected. Now imagine that a student, yourself, only attended a third of those grade 4 math lessons. The holes in your knowledge can be significant, and you may not even be aware of it.

This is where the MaxiCourse comes in. Since our program starts from square one, we help to fill in the knowledge gaps that smaller programs, weekend programs, and primarily surgical study clubs simply don’t have the time to replicate – a solid, comprehensive foundation. Many past and present participants quickly realized the truth of these words: “You don’t know what you don’t know”.

Add to that, we assess each individual participant’s experience and competency and approve each treatment plan based on that assessment. The goal of any surgery performed at the MaxiCourse is to provide the means for you to practice your skills and stretch yourself, and the more experience you have, the more complex your mentored surgeries can be.

 

What kinds of surgeries can I do at the Vancouver MaxiCourse?

Each year, we strive to personalize the didactic curriculum, what we emphasize, what topics we cover, and so forth as much as possible. We get to know the incoming class and make changes and revisions to best suit the needs of that class. The curriculum is set out by the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, designed to prepare you for a career or continued success in the field of oral implantology. Many times, our alumni have commented that despite their breadth of experience, there is still much learned, even in early modules of the program.

However, the clinical aspect of our program is completely personalized. You receive one-on-one mentorship from the treatment planning stage through to the surgery itself, which takes place at the UBC Oral Health Centre. Our goal is for you to stretch yourself by 5% each time you do a surgery; in that way, you are challenging yourself, but not so far that you encounter a situation that requires the mentor to take over in performing the surgery.

Those in the beginning stages of their implantology career tend to focus on tooth extraction, bone grafting, and single implant placement in the posterior. Those past the early stages can prioritize their learning, in consultation with our faculty. So in answer to the question: You can do any surgery that you and the faculty feel is within your capability, with the support you need.

 

Is there continuing dental education available following the Vancouver MaxiCourse?

Dr. William Liang, director of the Vancouver MaxiCourse, truly believes in life-long learning. For over 12 years, he led his own surgical implant study clubs, one a beginner course and the other an advanced study club called the Vancouver Implant Continuum, specifically for graduates of the Vancouver MaxiCourse. He is an active member in a Cast Gold Study Club under the great Dr. Tucker’s leadership.

Upon completion of the program, we encourage all participants to join an implant study club to continue to build their skills and experience and benefit from continued one-on-one mentorship. The Implant Continuum is designed specifically for that purpose. In this club, you are given the opportunity to attend all MaxiCourse lectures again, along with the cadaver course in December, and bring patients in for more advanced surgeries the following day after lecture.

 

I am not a British Columbia resident with a BC dental license. Can I still perform surgeries at the Vancouver MaxiCourse clinical sessions?

The College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia can provide out-of-province participants with temporary licenses to practice on patients within our program. The CDSPI works closely with the College to provide malpractice insurance for each temporary licensure. Follow those two links to access the application forms for both. If your current malpractice insurance covers Canada at $3 million or more per occurrence, you need not purchase more malpractice insurance from CDSPI; instead, have your insurance company provide proof of coverage for those conditions and have them forward it to the CDSBC.

Note that your application to CDSBC must be submitted 3 weeks prior to first surgery [we recommend filling out early September], and the application itself, once approved, is valid for one year. You only need to pay the fee for a temporary license [different fee from the application fee] for when you do surgery on a particular weekend module. You do not need a temporary license for all weekends – only those you have a surgery booked.

Karen Walker at the CDSBC is a huge support for this important item. Feel free to call 1-800-663-9169 or 604-736-3621 or email her at kwalker@cdsbc.org for more details.

 

How many hours of Continuing Education credit will I receive from taking the Vancouver MaxiCourse?

Each participant receives 300 hours of CE over the course of the year. It is comprised of the following:

– Lectures
– Clinical sessions
– Textbooks reading
– Treatment planning
– Case presentation
– Literature review
– Case study

These 300 hours of CE are required to challenge the written exam, Part A of Associate Fellow credentialing.

 

I’m concerned about payment for the program. Do you have a financing program available?

The beauty of this program is that program costs can be recouped by bringing in your own patients for surgery during our clinical sessions. However, we do have tuition payment plans available to all participants. Please contact the education coordinator for more details.

 

I am relatively new to implant dentistry. I’m concerned about finding patients for surgeries throughout the year. What do you suggest I do?

The benefit of registering early with the Vancouver MaxiCourse is that you will have the lead time required to find patients. Early registrants will be given the opportunity to attend a free evening seminar led by Dr. William Liang. Dr. Liang will cover the process of screening patients for the Vancouver MaxiCourse clinical sessions. Spending time over the summer to screen patients, and consulting with our surgical mentors, will enable you to have patients lined up for the year.

We recommend that you reach out to family and friends for potential patients as well as to any colleagues, associates, and other dentists you know who do not already practice oral implantology and have their own dental practice patients in need of tooth extractions, grafting, implants, and so forth.