Qualified as a periodontist in 1989 at the University of Stellenbosch. He was Head of Department at Stellenbosch University from 1998-2003 and joined the University of Pretoria as Head of Periodontics in 2006. He started his first postgraduate diploma in oral implantology in South Africa, via distance learning, live surgery and hands-on training in 1999.
Prof. van Zyl has been involved in implant training since then and is currently the Head of the ITI Center of Excellence and ITI Scholarship Center at the University of Pretoria. He has lectured nationally and internationally on implant dentistry.