Dentures have come a long way. No longer do denture wearers need to rely on messy adhesives to keep their dentures in place, or suffer embarrassment of having them fallout when eating or talking. Today, dentures are more comfortable, reliable, and attractive.
For patients who need to replace several teeth or all of their teeth implant-supported dentures provide stability and a natural look and feel. Traditional dentures rest on the gums, while implant supported over dentures are attached to dental implants. Even patients who have no remaining teeth are eligible for this treatment, as long as the jaw bone is sturdy enough to support the implants. Implant-supported dentures can either be fixed (only taken out by the dentist for deep cleanings and other procedures) or removable by the patient for daily cleaning or sleep.
What are the Benefits of Implanted Dentures?
Implant-supported dentures have several advantages.
- Strength. Denture implants can help preserve jaw bone that is lost when teeth are missing. When you lose a tooth or several teeth, the underlying jaw gradually begins to lose bone, leading to that “caved-in” appearance that affects the structure of the face. Implants can help keep the remaining bone strong, at the same time preserving a more youthful appearance.
- Stability. Because these dentures are supported by implants attached to your jaw bone, they are much sturdier and more stable than traditional dentures. You will be able to eat, drink, and speak confidently without worrying that your dentures will come loose.
- Comfort. Implanted dentures are also more comfortable. Traditional dentures for the top jaw often cover the entire roof of your mouth, which can be irritating to some patients. With implant supported dentures, there is no need to cover the entire palate, so the gums and mouth tissue are less affected.
How do Denture Implants Work?
There are several steps in the dental implant process.
- At the initial exam at our office, we will review your medical and dental history, take some x-rays, and create impressions of your teeth and gums. Sometimes a CT scan may be taken to show the locations of sinuses, nerves, and existing jaw bone, to ensure the best placement of the implants. The number of implants you need will depend on the location and number of teeth missing, as well as the health of the underlying gums and jaw bone.
- Once the treatment plan is in place, dental surgery is needed to place the implants in the jawbone. Dental implants are made of titanium alloy, the same material used in joint-replacement surgery. Patients wear temporary dentures while waiting for the implants to attach to the jaw bone, a process that can take several months. It is important during this time to avoid putting pressure on the implants so they will properly fuse to the bone.
- Four to six months later, a second surgery may be needed to place caps on the implants so the gum tissue will heal properly, while also attaching hardware that will help the dentures stay in place. In some cases, these two steps can be completed in a single surgery.
- The completed denture—either your existing denture or a new one—is then fitted to the implants and tested to make sure it is stable and secure. At Dental Expressions we spend a lot of time making sure your bite is natural and comfortable, to avoid sore gums and other issues that can occur with ill-fitting dentures.
The right dentures can mean the difference between self-consciousness and confidence. To find out if you are a good candidate for denture implants, contact our office today.