Postmenopausal women suffering from osteoporosis are at a greater risk for tooth loss than most other groups. But a series of studies published in the Journal of International Dentistry sheds some light on the dental outcomes of women who have had dental restorations and also suffer from osteoporosis. This one particular study in the series suggests that dental implants provide a higher level of satisfaction to patients both in their social and professional lives than any other dental restoration available.
How Osteoporosis affects Dental Health
Currently 10 million people in the United States suffer from osteoporosis. Eight out of every 10 sufferers are women, and according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, but one in every four men over the age of 50 will break a bone from it. Osteoporosis affects all bones in the human body including your jawbone. But many times low dosage digital dental x-rays will allow dentists to see any loss in bone density an monitor issues due to osteoporosis. (Just another good reason for at least yearly dental exams!)
Maintaining good dental health including healthy gums can ensure your jaw won’t lose much bone over your lifespan. Tooth loss leads to bone loss so as we age it’s so important to keep up with our regular dental exams. Without teeth, the jawbone begins to shrink which not only changes the shape of your face (”aging” you) but it makes future dental restorations way more difficult. Some patients with dentures find that over time their dentures will not fit properly, if at all, due to shrinkage of the bony ridge over time. One of the major advantages to having dental implants is that it can preserve the bone and jaw structure and also prevent bone loss.
With this recent survey given by the Case Western University School of Dental Medicine team and led by Dr. Leena Palomo, associate professor of periodontics, women gave dental implants a higher satisfaction rating in all areas of their lives including emotional and sexual well-being.
To answer such personal questions you might be wondering just how they selected these study participants. Participants were found from a database of over 900 women with osteoporosis belonging to the Case or Cleveland Clinic Postmenopausal Wellness Collaboration.
To be eligible for the study, osteoporotic women had to have one or more adjacent teeth missing. This did not include participants who have had wisdom teeth or third molars removed. Sixty-four of the study participants had dental implants, 60 of the study participants had fixed partial dentures, which is a non-removable false tooth cemented to the crowns of two adjacent teeth, 47 women had full removable dentures or false teeth, and lastly 66 of the participants had no dental treatment at all to restore their missing teeth.
All 237 of the participants were surveyed about their personal satisfaction with their replacement teeth and if their dental replacements improved their social and work lives. The survey consisted of 23 questions that asked the participants to rate their satisfaction with their work, health, emotional and sexual aspects of their lives. Each study participant was personally interviewed by a member of the dental research team.
Tooth Implants Beat Fixed Dentures in Overall Patient Satisfaction
While dental or tooth implants scored the highest in overall satisfaction, researchers found that fixed partial or fixed full dentures scored the next highest in satisfaction among the women in the study. Removable dentures placed third out of the four types of dental restorations, and women that had no dental restorations for tooth loss scored the lowest in the satisfaction survey.
As dental patients become more sophisticated and knowledgably about dental treatments for tooth loss, aesthetics begins to play a bigger role in their selection of dental restorations. This series of studies in a university setting helps future dental professionals understand the importance of aesthetics in delivering quality dental care and service. The big takeaway here is that it’s not just how dental restorations function or even how they look that is the whole story: it’s also how they make patients feel that matters! Most patients naturally want their dental work to feel and look as natural as what nature started them off with and as up to date as current dental trends and technologies allow.
At Dr. Mark W Langberg DDS, MAGD, PC, we can give you all the information you need to know to make the right decision about dental restorations. We are also fully aware of how lifestyle, work and social demands and other priorities such as feelings of self-worth and image factor into that decision. Regardless, don’t let the details of life hold you back from addressing urgent dental health issues that need immediate treatment. If left untreated, tooth loss will dramatically alter your overall health and appearance in the future. Make an appointment today by calling us at 248-356-8790 and discover the difference a great dentist makes!
Until Next Time,
Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD
Your Southfield Family Dentist
Tel: (248) 356-8790