Implants in Full-Arch Treatment Options

Michael Tischler, DDS
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I like to say that there is a “turning-point decision” that the patient and the treating dentist often have to make at this juncture in life. To elaborate, there are times that saving a patient’s natural teeth and redoing previous dental procedures may not be the wisest long-term choice for the patient.

This month, in the Implants Today section, we are focusing on full-arch dental implant solutions. With the largest segment of the US population being baby boomers, this topic is important to every practicing dentist. Statistics show that there are 74 million baby boomers in the United States. This segment of the population (roughly those between the ages of 54 and 77) is aging every day, making it a demographic tsunami that cannot be ignored. Concurrently, the various dental treatment procedures that these patients have had performed over the years by dental professionals are, by nature, becoming problematic. It’s not that the dental treatment was performed inadequately, but that most everything in life has an end point.

One contributing factor to the degradation of previous dental procedures is xerostomia. With more than 500 medications attributed to the condition, this is a major consideration for dentists as treatment providers. When a practitioner is treatment planning a patient, many factors must be brought into the equation for success. Patients rely on the dental professional to guide them and offer the best treatment options for solutions that will provide optimal longevity. As I have repeatedly stated in this column, treatment planning is a multifactorial discipline. These factors include the patient’s medical history, lifestyle, expectations, dental history, financial considerations, and much more.

The clinician’s responsibility to take the treatment planning process seriously becomes even more important when a baby boomer is looking for a solution to be able to chew food and smile as he or she enters the later years of his or her life. I like to say that there is a “turning-point decision” that the patient and the treating dentist often have to make at this juncture in life. To elaborate, there are times that saving a patient’s natural teeth and redoing previous dental procedures may not be the wisest long-term choice for a patient. This is especially true if a patient presents with xerostomia and the likelihood of future decay is high. Other factors to consider are the patient’s periodontal history, current oral hygiene, and desire to maintain regular professional checkups and preventative care appointments. This is why every clinician should be aware of the alternatives for full-arch tooth replacement involving implant dentistry and be able to present all options available with confidence to patients in this situation.

This month, Dr. David Little demonstrates how he used the latest technologies with an extended full-arch overdenture treatment plan. In addition, Dr. Charles Schlesinger discusses a unique, scientifically sound technique to use autologous bone to develop an implant site. Both of these articles include information relevant to full-arch treatments involving implant dentistry.

If you have any questions or comments about this topic, or any other subject presented in Implants Today, feel free to contact Dr. Tischler at mt@tischlerdental.com.

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