Patient Selection and Treatment Philosophy
The range of treatment that is available in the field of implant dentistry is vast, varying from the simple immediate replacement of a tooth carried out over a short span of time to extensive hard and soft tissue reconstruction coupled with fixed implant-supported restorations. The selection of patients must, therefore, take into account several factors when assessing the benefit that the patient will derive from the treatment against the extent and invasiveness of the treatment proposed for that patient.
The factors that need to be taken into consideration are numerous, and none should be overlooked when deciding on the course of action. Clearly, any treatment that is carried out should not compromise the medical condition of the patient. The age of the patient is relevant because the healing process takes longer with advancing biological age. Chronological age must, therefore, be considered in light of the patient’s physical and mental well-being.
Benefit in terms of lifespan is a difficult judgement to make, as the improvement in the quality of life has to be evaluated in view of the discomfort and indignity that a patient may suffer if deprived of treatment. This is particularly true for patients who have undergone ablative surgery for the treatment of neoplasms.12–16
Funding of the treatment must also be taken into account. Direct funding by the patient makes the assessment of benefit versus cost easier for the clinician as the patient is involved directly in the decision-making process. Third party funding, either by th/>