Should edentulous patients be constrained to removable complete dentures? The use of dental implants to improve the quality of life for edentulous patients
Background: Nowadays, there is some speculation among dental educators that the need for complete dentures will significantly decrease in the future and that training in their provision should be removed from the dental curriculum.
Objective: To sensitise the reader to the functional shortcomings of complete denture therapy in the edentulous patient and present restorative options including implants to improve edentulous quality of life in these patients.
Methods: Information retrieval followed a systematic approach using PubMed. English articles published from 1964 to 2008, in which the masticatory performance of patients with implant-supported dentures was assessed by objective methods and compared with performance with conventional dentures, were included.
Results: National epidemiological survey data suggested that the adult population in need of one or two complete dentures will increase from 35.4 million adults in 2000 to 37.9 million adults in 2020. Clinical studies have showed that the ratings of general satisfaction were significantly better in the patients treated with implant overdentures post-delivery compared with the complete denture users. In addition, the implant group gave significantly higher ratings on comfort, stability and ability to chew. Furthermore, patients who received mandibular implant overdentures had significantly fewer oral health-related quality of life problems than did the conventional group.
Conclusion: Implant-supported dentures including either complete overdentures or a hybrid prosthesis significantly improve the quality of life for edentulous patients compared with conventional removable complete dentures. Therefore, the contemporary dental practitioner should consider other options as well as conventional removable complete dentures to restore edentulous patients.