Aim: To analyse the patients' perception of implant therapy, 10 years following installation of titanium oral implants.
Material and methods: As a part of a prospective cohort study of patients with ITI(R) dental implants, 104 patients were recruited to answer a questionnaire with 13 statements on the subjective perception of implant treatment, 5-15 years after implant installation (mean: 10.2 years). In addition, the patients were asked to mark a visual analogue scale (VAS) in which 0 indicated "total discontent" and 100 "total satisfaction" with the statements mentioned in the questionnaire. Results from the qualified questions answered were then compared with those obtained from VAS analysis.
Results: One hundred and four patients, with 214 installed oral implants participated. Forty-eight percent of the implants were reconstructed with single crowns and 52% with fixed partial dentures (FPD). The cumulative survival rate of the implants at 10 years was 93%. Two of the statements addressing function and chewing comfort yielded very high patient satisfaction (97% highly satisfied or satisfied, mean VAS: 94+/-13). Comparing chewing comfort for teeth or implants, respectively, 72.1% perceived no difference between the two, 17.3% felt more secure when masticating on teeth and 7.7% when masticating on implants (mean VAS: 54+/-24). The vast majority (96%, mean VAS: 96+/-10) was highly satisfied or satisfied with phonetic function and with aesthetics (97%, mean VAS: 93+/-13). A great majority of the patients (93%, mean VAS: 89+/-19) had no problems with cleansing the implant reconstruction. Indeed, one-third (37%, mean VAS: 55+/-27) indicated more ease to clean implants than to clean teeth. About half of the patients (47%) had noticed bleeding of the mucosa or the gingiva following brushing. In addition, half (47%) of those noticing bleeding felt that bleeding was less marked around implants than around teeth. Again, the vast majority of patients (92%, mean VAS: 92+/-14) indicated complete fulfilment of the treatment, i.e. the outcome satisfied their expectations. The same majority (94%, mean VAS: 93+/-17) would be willing to undergo the same treatment again, and (89%, mean VAS: 93+/-16) would even recommend such treatment to friends and relatives, if indicated. The cost for implant therapy was deemed to be reasonable to a large extent (87%, mean VAS: 85+/-20).
Conclusion: Using oral implants, more than 90% of the patients were completely satisfied with implant therapy, both from a functional and aesthetic point of view. The costs associated with implant therapy were considered to be justified. This was determined by both qualified questions and the use of VAS after 10 years of function.