What's the impact of dental implants on functionally impaired individuals' lives?

May 23, 2013

The damaging effects of tooth-loss on patients’ self-esteem and overall well-being are undeniable.  Unfortunately, extensive tooth loss is even more common among those with functional impairments, compounding the negative effects to an even greater degree.

The damaging effects of tooth-loss on patients’ self-esteem and overall well-being are undeniable.  Unfortunately, extensive tooth loss is even more common among those with functional impairments, compounding the negative effects to an even greater degree.

A recent study published in Acta Odontologica Scandinavica explores functionally impaired patients’ experience of receiving and living with dental implants, since such groups tend to have difficulty with removable prostheses.

The study, which was led by Angelika Lantto of the Swedish National Dental Health Service, interviewed 17 individuals with several kinds of functional impairment who had undergone implant treatment.  Using the grounded theory methodology, the researchers asked open-ended questions to determine the effect dental implants had on an overall process of “normalization” in functionally impaired individuals. 

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With normalization being the core category in which the results were calculated, the researchers also looked at the following categories: “the functionally impaired are also entitled to dental care,” “edentulousness is a burden for functionally impaired individuals,” “there is interaction between implant treatment and other aspects of life,” and "it is important to understand the implications of implant treatment.” 

The researchers concluded that normalization was the primary motivation for implant treatment among the functionally impaired, as tooth loss had only increased a generalized feeling of “being different.”  Additionally, the experience of the treatment was intrinsically linked to the reported circumstances of the functionally impaired individuals’ lives.

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