Chapter 11 Concluding Postscript Analysis
The psychosocial challenges faced by patients who experience uncompensated tooth loss are very real, and the consequences of missing teeth on self-esteem can be extremely debilitating. Simple activities of daily social life for an edentulous person, such as speaking, smiling, laughing, eating, and kissing, are rarely accomplished with total self-assurance. Replacing lost dentition is therefore not only essential to the maintenance of general medical health and bone preservation but can also have a profound beneficial impact on an individual’s mental health stability.
The novel methodology of the mini dental implant (MDI) system is patient-friendly at its core. The nature of the procedure and follow-up care contributes to an overall positive experience for the patient. From a surgical standpoint, MDIs are so slender that they can be inserted directly through the overlying gum tissue and inserted into the underlying bone in a single minimal surgery. Many patients fear the relative invasiveness of conventional implants and associate them with a slow, painful recovery period. MDIs, however, are associated with significantly less postinsertion inflammation and soreness. Moreover, the relevant advantage of MDIs that evokes the most powerful psychological benefit is the fact that it is often possible to provide the complete implant service in a single office visit. Even in the rare event of a lost implant, the consequences, both physical and emotional, are measurably less severe than those of conventional tooth replacement systems, particularly when extensive grafting procedures are also necessary.
Some of the most profound clinical examples of positive mental health outcomes can be found in the adolescent patient population, a cohort not typically associated with edentulism. This elusively dynamic yet psychologically vulnerable stage of development is often characterized by multiple challenges to a young person’s developing self-esteem. Symptoms of depression and anxiety in young adults are gaining increasing awareness in the mental health setting and are often attributed to the harsh, competitive environment in which teenagers play, learn, and mature. Consider the actual case of a teenage boy born with a defect that failed to manifest itself until the appearance of his other permanent teeth: anodontia of his lateral incisors. He was initially fitted with a space-maintainer (retainer) appliance, the type that some of his friends wore in conjunction with orthodontic therapy, which adversely affected his taste and prevented him from participating in sports that required a protective mouthpiece. The daily multiple/>