Dental implants have been around for more than 50 years. They’ve been approved for use in the US for about 25. Even so, a new study shows that the general public doesn’t know much about them.
In fact, the new study from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) shows that about 25% of people don’t even know that dental implants exist! Clearly, we need to improve education so that everyone knows what options are available to them and can pick the best treatment for their needs.
Surveying Patients at a Dental Clinic
For this study published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, researchers surveyed patients at two of the VCU dental clinics. At one clinic, researchers surveyed 50 patients getting screened for dental implant eligibility. At the emergency dental care clinic, researchers surveyed 76 patients. These patients represented the control group and were also intended to represent the general public’s knowledge of dental implants.
It is among the general population group where about 25% of patients didn’t know of the existence of dental implants. Most of this group of patients (60%) thought that dental implants were made of porcelain. However, the patients who were at the clinic for dental implant screening demonstrated a higher degree of knowledge about dental implants. Among these patients, about 70% identified titanium as the material used to make dental implants.
Another important distinction between these two groups of patients is their understanding of how long dental implants can last. A significant fraction (10%) of emergency patients said that dental implants last less than five years. Only about 30% identified that they could last 20 years or more. Among those being screened for implants, none thought that implants last five years or less, and 49% said they thought implants lasted 20 years or more.
Improving Public Education
Researchers took the results of this survey to mean that we need to improve public education about dental implants. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the two groups of patients listed very different primary sources for information about dental implants. The proportion of implant patients (I) and emergency patients (E) that got most of their information from various sources was:
- Friends or relatives I: 22% E:38%
- Dentist I: 54% E: 22%
- Internet I: 30% E: 20%
- Television I: 14% E: 21%
- Newspaper or Magazine I: 6% E: 2%
The different sources show that implant patients tend to get their information from more reliable sources, such as their dentist and even the Internet. Yes, the Internet can have some misleading information on it, but there are many sources of reliable information, such as dentists’ websites where information is carefully screened for accuracy.
Cost Is a Common Barrier
One place where both groups of patients agreed was in identification that cost was one of the greatest barriers to getting dental implants. About 90% of each group said this was the most important factor. However, cost shouldn’t stop people from getting dental implants. This is another aspect of dental education that needs to be addressed. People should be informed of things that can make dental implants more affordable.
If you are considering dental implants in Rochester, NY, we can help. We can answer your questions about the procedure and help you understand how to get your dental implant procedure. Please call (585) 244-3337 today for an appointment with an implant dentist at Contemporary Dentistry.