Public perceptions of dental implants: A qualitative study

  • Wang G
  • Gao X
  • Lo E
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Objectives: Dental implants have become a popular option for treating partially dentate or edentulous patients. Information on dental implants is widely available in the public domain and is disseminated through industries and dental practitioners at various levels/disciplines. This qualitative study aimed to evaluate the public's information acquisition and their perceptions of dental implants and the effects of these on their care-seeking and decision making. Methods: A purposive sample of 28 adults were recruited to join six focus groups. To be eligible, one must be 35-64 years of age, had never been engaged in dentally related jobs, had at least one missing tooth, and had heard about dental implant but never received dental implant or entered into any dental consultation regarding dental implants. All of the focus groups discussions were transcribed verbatim and subjected to thematic content analysis following a grounded theory approach. Results: Participants acquired information on dental implants through various means, such as patient information boards, printed advertisements, social media, and personal connections. They expected dental implants to restore the patients' appearance, functions, and quality of life to absolute normality. They regarded dental implants as a panacea for all cases of missing teeth, overestimated their functions and longevity, and underestimated the expertise needed to carry out the clinical procedures. They were deterred from seeking dental implant treatment by the high price, invasive procedures, risks, and complications. Conclusions: Members of the public were exposed to information of varying quality and had some unrealistic expectations regarding dental implants. Such perceptions may shape their care-seeking behaviours and decision-making processes in one way or another. Clinical significance: The views and experiences gathered in this qualitative study could assist clinicians to better understand the public's perspectives, facilitate constructive patient-dentist communication, and contribute to the creation of positive clinical experiences in implant dentistry.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Care-seeking behaviours
  • Decision-making
  • Dental implant
  • Expectations
  • Information acquisition
  • Qualitative research

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  • Guihua Wang

  • Xiaoli Gao

  • Edward C M Lo

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