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Dental Implants = Better Quality of Life for Women with Osteoporosis

Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis are at greater risk of losing their teeth. A study done in June 2015 at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine in Cleveland suggests that dental implants may be the treatment with the highest degree of satisfaction. Leena Palomo, associate professor of periodontics and colleagues published their study in the Journal of International Dentistry. The research is part of a series of studies analyzing dental outcomes for women with osteoporosis.

A release from the university reports that in the CWRU study, one of the first to examine quality of life after treatment to replace missing teeth in osteoporotic women, the researchers surveyed 237 women about their satisfaction with replacement teeth and how it improved their lives at work and in social situations. The 23-question survey rated satisfaction with their work, health, emotional, and sexual aspects of their lives.

Participants were from the Case/Cleveland Clinic Postmenopausal Wellness Collaboration, which is part of a database of health information about 900 women with osteoporosis.

Osteoporotic women with one or more adjacent teeth missing (excluding wisdom teeth or third molars) were chosen for the study. The women had restoration work done that included implants (64 women), fixed partial denture in which a false tooth is cemented to crowns of two teeth (60), a removable denture better known as false teeth (47), or had no restoration work done (66).

Women with dental implants reported a higher overall satisfaction with their lives, said Christine DeBaz, a third-year Case Western Reserve dental student. She was lead researcher on the project and personally interviewed each participant.

Fixed dentures scored next highest in satisfaction, followed by false teeth and, finally, women with no restoration work.

Women with dental implants also reported the highest satisfaction in emotional and sexual areas, while those without restorations scored the lowest in those two areas.

As health professions move to a patient-centered form of delivering dental service, understanding the patient’s outcomes for satisfaction of the treatment’s esthetics is as important as chewing function, DeBaz said.

“We need hard data to drive our decision-making about which is best for the patient,” Palomo said.


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