Prospective dental implant patients and the general public agree that oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the most qualified practitioners for replacing missing teeth, according to a study from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry. However, the research also found that the public needs more education about dental implants and that dental providers should emphasize this information to potentially improve patient experiences.
During the study, 2 groups of adult patients were asked about dental implants and where they obtained information about them. The general population group comprised 50 randomly selected patients at the school’s emergency clinic who had no plans to have dental implants placed. The other group had 76 patients who had scheduled a dental implant consultation at the school’s Dental Implant Clinic.
Most participants from both groups agreed that oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the best doctors to place implants, implants need the same dental hygiene as a normal tooth, and the top factor for not getting an implant is cost.
Also, nearly 25% of the general population group had never heard of dental implants. Most participants in this group received their implant information from less dependable sources, according to the study. These participants were more likely to obtain information from their friends and family members, while the implant consultation patients were more likely to say their dentist was their top source for information.
The study additionally found that patients who understand the dental implant procedure and their role in post-surgical care and oral hygiene can have an overall successful experience. Doctors should have an understanding of a patient’s knowledge about implants, the accuracy of that information, and why patients may decline getting them, according to the researchers. And while patients presenting for dental implants are generally better informed, some of them were still less knowledgeable than others, indicating a need for education, the researchers said.
The study, “Public and Patient Knowledge About Dental Implants,” was published by the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.