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Volume 21 , Issue 1
January/February 2006

Editorial: The Definition of Bittersweet

Steven E. Eckert

The available literature in implant dentistry before 1980 consisted mainly of testimonials, discussion, and case reports. The field was dominated by strong personalities and even stronger opinions. In those days, little fundamental research was performed, and the perception of long-term survival used a definition of “long-term” that would probably be considered unacceptable today.

The landscape changed with the recognition of the phenomenon of osseointegration. Laboratory research took a position ahead of clinical intervention. Rather than a field populated solely by clinicians, implant dentistry became a scientifically based therapeutic endeavor. Animal research followed laboratory investigation and preceded human clinical trials. With time it became clear that osseointegration was within the grasp of every reasonably prudent clinician following standard surgical and prosthetic protocols. No longer was implant survival dependent upon the superhuman skills of the gifted clinician or upon pharmacologic breakthroughs to manage the inevitable infections associated with failing implants. With osseointegration, implant dentistry became part of the mainstream.

Even though the breakthrough had occurred, word of osseointegration needed to be spread. It was at this point that my friend and colleague Dr William Laney assumed a leadership role. In 1986 JOMI was born with Dr Laney as its editorial chairman. His first editorial promised that “All who are interested in implantology will find each issue an informative, high-quality contribution to the field’s scientific literature. We are underway and we pledge the pursuit of excellence in serving you, our respected readers.” Oh how he delivered on this promise.

Over the next twenty years Bill Laney nurtured JOMI. With his strong leadership the journal became the largest journal (in terms of circulation) devoted to implant dentistry. To date more than 1,400 articles have been published in this journal, and the number of submissions has never been greater. Authors often write to express their pleasure when articles are accepted for publication in this journal.

The bittersweet news today is that Dr Laney is stepping down as editorial chairman of JOMI. Although he and I have worked together toward this transition, I can assure you that his are very large shoes to fill. For those of you who are lucky enough to know Bill, this statement comes as no surprise. Bill Laney is a giant among giants in the field of prosthetic and implant dentistry. His skills as an editor, clinician, educator, researcher, and organizational leader are appreciated by all. Bill is an individual who has charted a path for all of us to follow.

Fortunately Dr Laney will continue in the field of implant dentistry. He is currently working with others to create a working glossary of implant dentistry terms. Understanding the wisdom that he brings to all other endeavors, we can rest assured that this will be THE word on the words that we use.

So it is with a sense of sadness that we see this change at JOMI. But it is also with a sense of joy and enthusiasm that we thank Dr Laney for all that he has given us. Bill, please take our heartfelt thanks for all your efforts on the part of this great journal.

Steven E. Eckert, DDS, MS

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