We sometimes receive questions about dental implants. A small number of people with Down syndrome seen in our office have reported that they opted to get dental implants, and most of these individuals have successfully received dental implants. There are several issues to consider that will increase the likelihood of success. For example, the individual must have adequate bone structure to support the implant. Implants require multiple follow-up appointments and implants can be costly. If the appropriate requirements are met, dental implants are an option for some people with Down syndrome.
In July 2021, an article about dental implants in people with Down syndrome was published. The article summarized the findings of 5 articles and concluded that "treatment with dental implants in patients with Down syndrome is a suitable option, but more complications are to be expected than with patients without this condition."
The article noted that the studies had some weaknesses. The studies were not "controlled," which reduces the strength of the findings. In a controlled study, the study design reduces the chance that factors other than what is being tested may have caused the benefit. These studies did not have designs which would do that and, therefore, other factors may have contributed to differences in the benefit of the implants. In addition, 3 of the 5 studies had "bias," which usually occurs when the researcher has potential benefit from the results and, therefore, there is risk of over-reporting of good outcomes and under-reporting of negative outcomes. The article recommended that "controlled studies with better methodological design and less risk of bias should be developed to improve the scientific evidence for the treatment of these patients."
There are some other options. For example, some of our patients have opted for bridges as an alternative. We recommend discussing the options with your dentist.
Sales PHDH, Barros AWP, de Lima FJC, Carvalho AAT, Leao JC. Is Down syndrome a risk factor or contraindication for dental implants? A systematic review [published online ahead of print, 2021 Jul 28]. J Prosthet Den. 2021;S0022-3913(21)00348-6. doi:10.1016/j.prosdent.2021.06.031