Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC) is managing a trial into the quality of life of people wearing dental implants. The trial is funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Research for Patient Benefit Programme.
Around 3.7 million people in Britain have no natural teeth and many find it difficult to wear lower dentures, causing problems in chewing and speaking that have a significant effect on their quality of life. Most of those who have lost their teeth are over the age of 65, and the impact of ill-fitting dentures on their lives is so severe that the World Health Organization has classified individuals with such difficulties as disabled.
One solution to this problem is to fit titanium implants into the lower jaw to hold dentures in place, but this requires significant surgery, which not all patients are able to undergo. An alternative for these patients is to opt for newly developed mini-implants, which are less traumatic to put in place.
Led by MAHSC partners The University of Manchester and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) and managed by the MAHSC Clinical Trials Coordination Unit, based at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, the pilot trial is the first of its kind to provide a cost-benefit analysis and undertake a robust assessment of the impact of mini implants on people's quality of life, compared with dentures secured by conventional implants.
Professor Martin Tickle, a Senior Research Professor in the School of Dentistry at The University of Manchester, who leads on population health for MAHSC, said: "This pilot trial is one step towards MAHSC's aim of improving quality of life and it is of particular importance for an ageing population.
"We hope the results of this study will inform a much larger trial that we hope to roll-out across the UK." The trial has recently started and so far, 16 patients have been recruited.
Overall, 44 participants will be selected to take part, 22 of which will receive conventional implants, while the others will be provided with mini implants. Over the course of six months, the researchers will follow-up with the patients to collect information on their experiences, including the level of pain they have encountered, their ability to chew, and the overall impact of treatment on their quality of life.
"When dentists try to help people whose lives are severely affected by denture problems, it is of critical importance that they know which product is most effective and best suited to the individual patient before treatment goes ahead," Dr Craig Barclay, Consultant at The University Dental Hospital of Manchester, part of CMFT, and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Restorative Dentistry at The University of Manchester, stated.
"We hope that the study will improve quality of life for patients with dentures, by enabling clinicians to provide the most appropriate treatment." MAHSC is one of only six UK academic and health partnerships currently designated as an Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) - a mark of international excellence in healthcare research - and the only one north of Cambridge.
Its role is to join world-leading academics with NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups in order to ensure the best ideas emerging from the scientific community are translated into standard healthcare to benefit patients more quickly and more effectively.