No age limit to implant treatment
ROME, Italy: There are few implant studies available on the 60+ generation and, owing to decreased oral and overall health in old age, elderly patients are usually considered a high-risk group for dental implants. During a scientific session at the European Association for Osseointegration (EAO) congress in Rome last week, distinguished experts helped clarify the question of whether there is an age limit to implant treatment.
Prof. Frauke Müller, chair of the Division of Gerodontology and Removable Prosthodontics at the University of Geneva, stated that dental implants hold great physical and social implications for elderly patients despite their greater likelihood of poor health. Overall, she said, there is no evidence of an inferior survival rate of dental implants in this age group. Moreover, it has been shown that dental implants significantly improve the social life of elderly patients.
A study published in 2005 in the Journal of Dentistry, titled “The impact of conventional and implant supported prostheses on social and sexual activities in edentulous adults: Results from a randomized trial 2 months after treatment”, demonstrated that edentulism has a negative impact on the social and sexual life of patients. In the study, participants reported significant improvement in eating, speaking, kissing and yawning two months after having received mandibular overdentures retained by two implants. Moreover, it was observed that overdentures provided greater reduction of unease in intimate activities than did new conventional mandibular dentures.
Müller concluded that there is no age limit to implant treatment, but a number of specific factors have to be considered when treating older patients. For instance, patients with arthritis may not be able to handle removable dentures properly. Implant-retained overdentures should be easy to insert and remove. They should also be easy to clean, and dentists need to educate and train their patients in correct oral hygiene. Finally, further health decline and financial barriers have to be taken into account.
The EAO congress was held from 25 to 27 September in Rome in Italy. Click here to read more news from the event.