Content Dam Rdh Print Articles Volume37 Issue4 1704rdhcdep P01

'Touch & Tech' implants: Wingrove's seminar encourages hands-on proficiency for implant care

April 1, 2017
Ann-Marie DePalma, RDH, discusses a seminar presented by Susan Wingrove, RDH, about dental implants.

By Ann-Marie DePalma, RDH, MEd, FADIA, FAADH

Dental implants are no longer considered experimental, but rather the standard of care for edentulous areas. It is our responsibility as hygienists to educate patients about their need for implants. We also need to understand how to maintain the implants once they’re restored. Susan Wingrove, RDH, BS, in conjunction with Liz Graham Presents, has developed a program called “Perio, Implants, and Technology” that reviews periodontal and implant therapy, technology tools, and regenerative dentistry trends.

The objectives and goals of Susan’s program are:

  • Discuss the safest and most effective research-based periodontal/peri-implant therapy disease treatment
  • Review the key points of the latest clinical guidelines from the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP) for healthy tooth-borne and implant-borne restorations and maintenance
  • Provide research-based assessment, home care, and periodontal/peri-implant maintenance protocols

Susan reviews periodontal therapy protocols, including how to handle 5 mm and 6 mm bleeding pockets; how to maintain implants with appropriate instrumentation, including whether titanium instrumentation is necessary; the use of piezo versus magnetostrictive technology; appropriate probing and air polishing protocols; the status of current implant home-care products; implementing saliva screening and Bluetooth oral health applications for patients; and the use of 2-D versus 3-D imaging tools.

As dental professionals, we must use the tools, technology, and products that improve outcomes for periodontal and implant patients while taking our skills to the next level. Susan uses a “Touch & Tech” workshop so participants can gain hands-on proficiency in using the products, instruments, and smartphone apps. Dentists, hygienists, and assistants are encouraged to participate with their administrative team members since they need to understand the implant process also. The program is a seven-hour CE program.

As a practicing hygienist, Susan wanted to expand her knowledge of implants and periodontal regeneration. In collaboration with her late husband, Dr. Frank Wingrove, she performed many years of regeneration research. As a periodontist and implantologist, Dr. Frank wanted to resolve failing implant cases and discovered that a pattern of debris, not related to excess cement, was causing implantitis and the failure of implants.

Investigations of the debris led Dr. Frank and Susan to develop a group of implant scalers that did not scratch the titanium implant surface or leave any material residue behind. The instruments were completed a month after Dr. Frank passed away and are named in his honor - Wingrove Titanium Implant Instruments - and are manufactured by Paradise Dental Technologies (PDT).

Susan originally wanted to be a dentist and follow in her father’s footsteps, but ended up at the University of Minnesota studying to be a dental assistant and freelance writer. When she graduated, she became her father, Dr. Richard Strand’s, registered expanded function assistant. As her father prepared to retire, Susan returned to school to become a hygienist and fell in love with the profession. From there, she worked with a cosmetic dentist and periodontist while writing protocols for smile design, sleep apnea, and pathology identification.

Susan Wingrove, RDH, BS

She was also a freelance writer designing programs for the national YMCA. For over 10 years she researched, wrote programs, and taught instructors to deliver fitness programs. After working with her husband on regeneration research, Susan began presenting dental CE programs on implant maintenance and periodontal regeneration. In 2010 she was approached by Wiley Blackwell Publishers to write a textbook, “Peri-Implant Therapy for the Dental Hygienist: Clinical Guide to Maintenance and Disease Complication,” published in 2013.

Susan is an ADHA member and is proud to support all hygienists. She realizes that many hygienists feel that the ADHA is a political organization only, but she believes that the new vision for the future of ADHA relates to all hygienists. Susan was recently asked to assist in the formation of guidelines to advance the profession. She was honored to be appointed to the American College of Prosthodontists’ scientific panel to develop the “Clinical Practice Guidelines for Recall and Maintenance of Patients with Tooth-borne and Implant-borne Dental Restorations.”

Susan is an avid researcher who enjoys writing articles and books that are integral parts of her presentations. She lives life to its fullest, enjoys her family and friends, and takes in the nature that surrounds her in Missoula, Montana. She says that the textbook, “Peri-Implant Therapy,” is a highlight of her career because dental and dental hygiene students, as well as seasoned clinicians, find the book to be a valuable resource.

Another highlight of her career has been working with Linda Miller, CEO of PDT, to design instruments such as the Wingrove Implant Scalers, ACE probes, and the Queen of Hearts instruments. She is a 2016 Sunstar RDH Award of Distinction recipient. Susan feels her education as an assistant helped her to be a better hygienist and team member in the practices where she’s worked. If she were not a hygienist Susan could see herself as a college English professor. She describes herself as a dynamic innovator, writer, and researcher.

Susan believes this is an exciting time to be a hygienist because they are recognized as vital contributors to the overall health of patients. She encourages all hygienists to take as much CE as possible and learn as much as they can about products, technology, and tools that will help them remain in the profession longer, and treat patients to the best of their abilities. For more information about Susan or her program, visit or contact [email protected].

Thought for the month: “Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” - Anthony J. D’Angelo RDH

ANN-MARIE C. DEPALMA, RDH, MEd, FADIA, FAADH, is the 2017 recipient of the Esther M. Wilkins Distinguished Alumni Award of the Forsyth School for Dental Hygiene/Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene and the Association of Dental Implant Auxiliaries, as well as a continuous member of ADHA. She presents continuing education programs for dental team members on a variety of topics. Ann-Marie has authored chapters in several texts for dental hygiene. She can be reached at [email protected].