Oral implants in dependent elderly persons: blessing or burden?
Background: Implant-supported (partial) dentures may raise problems in patients who have become dependent on others for daily oral health care. Dental hygienists and general dental practitioners, as well as care providers, volunteer aiders and even health care insurance companies, should anticipate the growing demand for specific oral health care for patients provided with implant-supported (partial) dentures.
Objective: To report three cases of dependent patients and to present recommendations to prevent or resolve implant-related oral problems.
Materials and methods: The three case reports are demonstrating that implant insertion in (dependent) elderly people needs careful consideration.
Discussion: When considering implant treatment, some questions should be raised: (1) Is the treatment appropriate in contributing to the patient’s well-being and quality of life? (2) Is the treatment the most suitable treatment? (3) Does the treatment integrate with the patient’s oral health care plan? (4) Is the patient sufficiently cooperative? (5) Is the patient supported by a well-functioning oral (self) care assisting network? (6) Is it possible for the patient to regular see an oral health care professional and is oral health care easily accessible in cases of an emergency?
Conclusion: Dependent elderly people can benefit from oral implants, providing that adequate oral health care and aftercare can be provided. When indicated, removal of the anchorage structure is easily performed by putting the implants to sleep. All implant patients should be provided with an ‘implant passport’. Regular information and instruction for care providers about the oral condition of the patient are essential.