SOURCE: American Academy of Implant Dentistry

November 07, 2007 12:04 ET

From the 56th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry

Baby Boomers Embracing Dental Implants Fighting the Ravages of Periodontal Disease

LAS VEGAS, NV--(Marketwire - November 7, 2007) - For a generation used to getting what it wants, immediately if not sooner, aging Baby Boomers won't tolerate unattractive smile gaps caused by tooth loss from periodontal disease. Accordingly, adults 55 and older are fueling unprecedented demand for dental implants, according to experts presenting at the annual scientific meeting of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID).

"A startling two in three Americans have one or more missing teeth," said AAID President Frank Lamar, DDS. "This shows that periodontal disease is on the rise as the population grows older. As the Baby Boomers begin filing for Social Security, they also are replacing teeth weakened from periodontal disease with dental implants instead of bridgework and removable dentures. Further incentive is that highly precise computer-guided dental implant surgery has made the procedure faster, highly predicable and long-lasting with a success rate of 97 percent."

Most older adults with missing teeth have underlying periodontal disease from which bacteria from chronic gum infection can migrate through the bloodstream to vital organs. They often are unable to eat properly and develop nutritional deficiencies from an inadequate or unhealthy diet. Health-conscious Baby Boomers understand the benefits of good nutrition and know that eating properly depends on maintaining good oral health.

Advances in dental implant procedures, therefore, have come just in time for Baby Boomers coping with dental problems associated with advancing age. At the AAID meeting, presenters showed how many implant dentists are using 3D images and implant surgical planning software to construct a vivid map of the patient's mouth, pinpoint potential problems, and plan the implant procedure in advance.

"The sophisticated imaging technology allows assessment of bone structure and nerves while planning the surgery," said Lamar. Information from the image permits insertion of the implant through the gum tissue rather than under it. Once the implants are secured, prosthetic teeth are attached. For some, the entire procedure may take no more than an hour for a single implant.

"Implants are a win-win for Baby Boomer patients and their dentists," said LaMar. "Implants do not decay or involve root canals. Further, they are 97 percent successful, which significantly exceeds success rates of three-unit bridges or dentures, which require filing down or removing adjacent healthy teeth."

Though demand for dental implants is rising, LaMar said more dentists need comprehensive training to become proficient at implant procedures. "Attending a weekend course isn't enough," he said. "There is a higher level of risk with the procedure if the dentist has limited experience."

AAID offers a rigorous implant dentistry credentialing program which requires at least 300 hours of post-doctoral instruction in implant dentistry, passing a comprehensive exam, and presenting to a group of examiners successful cases of different types of implants.

AAID can help consumers find a local credentialed implant dentist at AAID is based in Chicago and has more than 3,500 members. It is the oldest organization dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of implant dentistry by supporting research and education to advance comprehensive implant knowledge.

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