People have been using “dentures” since the 15th century, and it has evolved from being actual teeth or wood to the prosthetic devices currently available. Despite dentures being the least expensive way of replacing lost teeth, they are riddled with inconveniences, including the risk of slippage or leaving sores in your mouth. However, dental implants address the problem with conventional dentures, allowing the artificial teeth to be screwed to the jaw, but it comes at quite the price. With the development of implant-supported dentures, a bridge was created between both procedures, allowing you to enjoy a combination of their best features.
What Are Implant-Supported Dentures?
Implant-supported dentures are an upgraded version of the conventional ones. They are overdentures fastened to titanium screws, eliminating the risk of falling out and causing sores from imbalance.
Implant-supported dentures are appropriate for replacing a single tooth or an entire row of lost teeth. Still, they are usually recommended to people who have lost all or most teeth. If that is the situation, an "all-on-4," which involves the installation of four implants, is best. Taking advantage of the “all-on-4” procedure, you may not need to undergo bone grafting even if you suffer from bone loss.
Benefits of Using Implant-Supported Dentures
There are numerous benefits of using implant-supported dentures, and they do an excellent job of improving the overall quality of their user's life. Some of them include
- They fit and function just like your natural teeth because they connect to your jaw and not your gum.
- Traditional dentures are prone to slippage, and because of how they are balanced, speaking and chewing are largely restricted. However, the feel of implant-supported dentures is natural so that you can do those things freely and comfortably.
- They prevent osteoporosis (bone atrophy) by maintaining the jaw's structure. Osteoporosis is a condition whereby bone density shrinks because of the absence of tooth roots.
- Unlike traditional dentures, where you have to remove and sterilize them by putting them in a denture solution, with implant-supported dentures, you only need to clean them like you would your regular teeth.
Cons of Getting Implant-Supported Dentures
- You are not suited for implant-supported dentures if you suffer from bone loss. So, if you lose a tooth, do not waste time because your jawbone begins to shrink. If your bone mass is still insufficient, you'd need an additional procedure known as bone grafting.
- The snap-on dentures, which function like a ball-and-socket system, usually deteriorate faster than traditional dentures.
- Installing an implant-supported denture is a costly procedure; the price could be anything between $1,500 to $10,000, based on the peculiarity of the case. Regardless, it is a worthy investment.
Who Can Get Implant-Supported Dentures?
Saying anybody with missing teeth can get implant-supported dentures is true, to an extent. However, some factors must be taken into account to decide if you are an appropriate candidate: your oral health, the number and order of lost teeth, and the availability of bone mass.
The best set of people to get implant-supported dentures should have a healthy jawbone. Notwithstanding, lacking one doesn't necessarily render you unfit to undergo the procedure. You can opt to get a bone graft (the replacement of a damaged bone with a healthy one from another part of the body.) to make up for it.
What Does the Procedure Entail?
The first phase of getting implant-supported dentures is consultation. It involves the dentist ordering an x-ray and possibly a CT scan to obtain adequate information on your teeth, the bone mass, and everything. The end goal of this phase is the creation of your teeth models.
The following phase is the initial surgery, which involves the installation of the implants. The dentist makes a small opening and drills the implants into the exposed area, which is usually at the front of the jaw because of its bone mass. This is done repeatedly till all the implants are installed. Before this procedure starts, you will be given anesthesia. It will take a few months for the fusion of the bone and implants.
After a few months, you’ll be ready for the second surgery. This is a surgery to install abutments (the link between the implant and the crown). Before the permanent ones are installed, the doctor opens up the implants and inserts healing abutments for about the first two weeks, after which they are switched out for permanent ones. After this, the dentist creates your custom-made artificial teeth.
The last phase of the procedure is the insertion of your custom-designed dentures. When all is in place, the dentist will need you to have a fitting of your dentures to see how well it suits you. If it fits perfectly, the dentist attaches it permanently using the bar or ball attachments.
How Long Do Implant-Supported Dentures Last?
Implant-supported dentures can serve you for about 15-25 years. The length of the years is influenced by how well you take care of them and their overall oral health and hygiene.
Most aftercare procedures involve taking care of your implant-supported dentures as you would your natural teeth. Things you should do include
- Scrubbing the margins of the attachment gently but thoroughly
- Brush the dentures carefully to avoid leaving scratches on them.
- Clean your entire mouth diligently, especially your tongue, to eliminate plaques.
- Rinse your mouth before brushing to get rid of any food stuck in the dentures
- When using temporary implant-supported dentures, it is recommended to remove them to lessen the risk of infections.
- Just like it is with traditional dentures, temporary implant-supported dentures should be left overnight in a denture solution for disinfecting.
- You should go for denture cleaning twice yearly to get them cleaned and examined by a dental hygienist.
Implant-supported dentures are highly recommended to fill in lost teeth. However, to reduce the cost and the number of procedures you'll have to undergo, make sure to subscribe to this procedure as soon as possible before there is a reduction in your jawbone density. Speak to a dental professional at Tomken Centre Dentistry if you are considering this treatment.
Published by Samantha Brown