Epilogue Summation and Future Horizons: The MDI Latter-Day Equation
An inescapable conclusion from the preceding sections detailing the extensive scope of this MDI modality is its significant potential for expanding the impact of oral implantology on an international scale. This is especially true for a worldwide populace that is often unable to receive the many health benefits of implant dentistry owing to its typical high cost, which puts such critical care beyond patients’ means. As we have observed, such regrettable inaccessibility has been only obliquely addressed by the dental profession to date, and dental implant therapy has been generally, and rather heedlessly, accepted as a benefit largely limited to relatively well-off members of the international community. In fact, the most desperately needful patients are just as often citizens of impoverished third world and emerging societies where vast numbers of people are edentulous or suffering from untreated major oral disease entities. For that matter, not everyone in America is so fortunate as to be able to afford implant benefits either, where dental insurance carriers may refuse to even partially cover such expense by arbitrarily assuming that it is too costly an elective “luxury.” Insurance premiums are basically designed to provide bottom-line profits for the industry rather than to expand benefits. Paradoxically, the extension of coverage for MDI therapy could actually in the long-term reduce the substantial costs of insuring untreated oral disability and systemic health comorbidities for an increasingly aging and often fully or partially edentulous global population.
Various research and ratings groups have consistently charted the rapid growth of global markets for dental implants, focusing on the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe, but also more recently Russia, India, China, Japan, both the Near and Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Hawaii. What is of special significance to the scientific community is the startling degree to which the MDI (ultra-small-diameter implant), starting from zero, has caught the imagination of clinicians in both less developed countries and wealthier societies. This is in no small part due to the clear affordability of the MDIs for average patients in these more modestly endowed communities, especially in light of the worldwide economic recession that appears to have been at least as deep and unforgiving as some previous downturns.