Peter Blijdorp, pioneer in implantology and founder of the blue®m oxygen formula, was honoured in an interview with NVOI (the Dutch Association of Oral Implantology). We are so proud of him and grateful for his innovative approach. His aim in life to help people and to allow patients to recover as quickly and painlessly as possible is an integral part of our daily activities at blue®m.

This tribute to Peter Blijdorp has been taken directly from the NVOI Bulletin of May 2019. Read more about his background, his experience in oral and maxillofacial surgery and be inspired by his philosophy, curiosity and ‘practical’ investigative attitude and solution-oriented approach.

The NVOI has many special colleagues who have worked tirelessly over the years to take our field to a higher level. What were their motives, what obstacles did they come across and what are particular highlights for them to look back on? In this series, we can’t leave out OMS-surgeon Peter Blijdorp. “You’ve to dare to look under that hood.”

Name: Peter A. Blijdorp
Studied Dentistry: 1967-1973 in Utrecht.
Studied Medicine: 1975-1982 in Utrecht.
Specialised to oral surgeon: 1975-1979 in Utrecht.
Received his Ph.d.: in 1984 under Prof. Egyedi in Utrecht on the dissertation, ‘De invloed van de leeftijd van sluiten van het palatum bij de schisispatiënt op kaakgroei, KNO-status, spraak en persoonlijkheidsontwikkeling.’
Worked as an oral surgeon in: Utrecht, Arnhem and Gorinchem (in the Netherlands).
Was involved as OMS-specialist in: the training of Dentistry interns/residents in Nijmegen and the training of assistants in oral and maxillofacial surgery (in Washington and Leuven).
Published: more than 37 scientific articles.
Was: among other things, vice-president NVOI, Chairman Medical Staff Rijnstate Ziekenhuis and President Arnhem Dentists Association.
Gladly organised: joint golf tournaments, golf and cooking classes, get-togethers in his spare time.
Get’s a good mood because of: “Working together with like-minded people, professionally but also in my spare time, in sports like hockey and golf. Seeing people grow by giving them trust and independence, making them confident. And then, enjoying the success and fun together, if that can be achieved.”
Hates: rules, people that can’t share and short-sightedness.
Misses about work:“ The conviviality and interaction with people, both patients and staff. But the dynamics of the hospital, OR and polyclinic.”
Motto in life: “Those who can’t share, also can’t multiply.”

The CV of OMS-surgeon Peter Blijdorp is impressive. As a pioneer in implantology he carried out, as one of the first in Netherlands, a sinus bottom elevation. As an oral surgeon, he was involved in training and in-service training. He obtained his doctorate, was involved in scientific publications and had many Board positions. Inge Slob and Danny Janssen, who worked together with him in Arnhem for years, had a conversation with Blijdorp. “Solving the dental miseries of patients gave great satisfaction.”

Why did you decide on Oral Surgery?

Peter Blijdorp: “It was more versatile and more challenging than dentistry; actually, it came to me kind of naturally. There were not too many oral surgeons. The field was still in development. Therefore it was not difficult to find work. I was asked to work in Arnhem and that was an honour because it was the ‘place-to-be’. It was widely known that in Arnhem people were curious and open to be innovative in our line of work.”

How did you end up in implantology? How did you acquire your knowledge?

“The department in Arnhem had two foreign oral surgeons in training (from America and Belgium) working for them. There was plenty of interest in the latest developments as well – also from an international point of view – in an inspiring work environment. Innovative challenges were not avoided and that took care of constant further ‘growth.’ You got inspiration during, for example, conferences and you applied the acquired knowledge into practice.

“There was no specific teacher, but there were colleagues who had enough trust in each other.”

“There was no specific teacher, but there were colleagues who had enough trust in each other. Eventually, there was some trial and error every now and then, but because of mutual trust and our knowledge and skills, this proved not to be this problematic. By doing many procedures, the standard was adapted or upgraded to the latest techniques and the most modern material. If our tools didn’t work for a given surgery, then we requested a certain company to develop a particular instrument for us, for example, Of course, in agreement with the oral surgeon. Not only the instruments, even the material (the implant) was constantly optimised. Without the good cooperation from the firms, much wouldn’t have been possible.”

What kind of procedures did you do mostly?

“Sinus floor elevations, reconstructions of the mandible and maxilla, implantology and application of bone around the implant. All that, of course,  in a constant strive for an optimal condition of the affected jaw part. ‘

You’re a true pioneer when it comes to implantology, You conducted certain procedures as one of the first, such as a sinus floor elevation. How was that and what did your colleagues think of it?

“If you’re well-grounded creative when it comes to solutions, you enjoy tinkering and are always thinking in possibilities, then a solution is always available. You’ve to dare to look under that hood to see what you find. Good preparation and the right tools are required at all times; this is half the battle. In addition, you need to act quickly: if Plan A doesn’t work, dare to switch to Plan B.

Arnhem had innovation as a paramount importance and colleagues had a critical viewpoint now and then, but they were open to the latest developments. Together with the Van Straten, which delivered the IMZ-implants, I was involved in the organisation of continuing vocational training for the Dutch oral surgeon and dentist. Also, for a long time the KIO-education around implantology was organised from Arnhem. Each new development was researched by interns/residents, after which a publication followed regularly. Because of this, the confidence in the latest techniques grew and they were applied and implemented where it was necessary. “

What (other) developments have you experienced in your field?

“The development of various techniques in the field like movement of autologous bone to upper and/or lower jaw and osteotomies of the jaw. But also: the use of osteosynthesis plates instead of wires. This gave an enormous progress in patient safety, because the jaws no longer had to be tied together with steel.

Another innovative development was, for example, the use of alloplastic material for the reconstruction of the jawbone as an alternative to the autologous bone graft. Exciting developments, which brought our field to an even higher level. I also specialised in optimization of the donor site and working environment by means of neovascularization and bone growth (hydroxylapatite, active oxygen).”

What did you enjoy the most in your work?

“First of all, the interaction with patients. But I also enjoyed the technical-creative aspect and thinking in solutions: the ability to solve the dental misery of patients gave a lot of satisfaction. In addition, it was nice to be able to share knowledge with others within the field; not only in the clinical setting, but also in a home practice when there was a need for it. The possibility to continue to develop constantly, I found very pleasant.”

“I also enjoyed the technical-creative aspect and thinking in solutions: the ability to solve the dental misery of patients gave a lot of satisfaction.”

If you had the chance to do your working life over again, would you choose Oral Surgery again?

“Yes! No doubt about it!”

Finally: what advice would you give the implantologist nowadays?

“Be open to the latest developments and dare to go further. Don’t be paralysed by fixed rules, dare to explore with common sense if it helps the patient. Use your sound judgement, make sure that you’re well informed and that you can quickly drill and screw! Share your knowledge with others and learn from others. Do it together. And: do everything with fun and especially with the necessary quirks, but stay responsible. This way your work keeps its interesting and challenging edge.”

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