“Edentulism is the loss of a body part and, for those afflicted, a real disability. The provision of a full denture is often unsatisfactory, for many reasons, but is the standard answer. Using dental implants to secure the replacement device, can and does provide a truly satisfactory answer.
Most general dentists see hundreds of edentulous patients each year and very many of these patients could have their quality of life vastly improved by the placement of just two implants to secure the dentures. Using simple and low maintenance devices, such as, locators, retentive anchors or magnets, this simple and effective treatment would improve the ability to chew more effectively, feel less uncomfortable and improve overall health, making a real difference to the patients life quality. This in turn it can be highly rewarding and gratifying for a dentist to have such a positive impact on their patients, by using such an effective and well research treatment modality.
A chronic condition
Edentulism is a chronic condition requiring a replacement part, which will allow function and hopefully restore patients self esteem. Too often however, it can be difficult if not impossible, to make dentures stable and secure in an environment where there is no support and denture stability is impractical. Methods and materials may have improved but their availability and the principle of denture construction and function may be beyond the experience and expertise of the general Dentist.
Quality of life is affordable
Now suddenly, we can use dental implants and we have the opportunity to provide a device that will do a much better job. I doubt that anyone who loses part of their leg, for example, would chose to operate permanently on crutches. But, in essence, that’s exactly what we are asking patients to do when we give them conventional dentures.
The placement of two implants is ‘affordable’ for most patients and certainly when the benefits in terms of improved quality of life are explained, most denture-wearing patients would welcome this very effective treatment; in some cases patients’ don’t even need a new denture.
Start giving your patients the benefits
Many clinicians are put off incorporating implant treatment in to their practice, as it seems complex and expensive in terms of training and equipment. However to give your patients the benefits of
improved denture stability on two implants you don’t need to invest in surgical kits and specialist training; all you need is a basic knowledge of implants, enabling you to talk to your patients with confidence about the treatment and benefits. It is recommended that GDPs attend one of the many foundation implant courses available to familiarise themselves with their chosen implant system and the options available. This will provide the knowledge necessary to discuss implant treatment with patients and provide a source of referral contacts that can be used to referrer the patient to for
placement of the implants only.
The bottom line
There is no reason why the 6 million edentulous patients in the UK should suffer unnecessary when such a cost-effective and proven treatment is available to them… If only every dentist would let them know about it.
The basis of this article was taken from an Interview with Professor Jocelyne S. Feine, Montreal/Canada published in STARGET 03 I visit www.straumann.com to download the complete text.