Implant Supported Dentures – The Modern Denture Solution
If you thought that dentures were just for senior citizens, think again. Research carried out by the National Center for Health Statistics found that by 40, more than two-thirds of the US population has one or more teeth missing. That, let us remember, is from the nation that routinely pokes fun at every other country in the world for having inadequate dental hygiene.
The fact is that although poor dental hygiene undoubtedly increases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, there are other causes of tooth loss that can affect any of us at any age. The good news is that far more dental prosthetic options are available now. Conventional dentures attached to plates are stronger and more comfortable than they used to be. And then there are implant retained dentures. These represent a solution that almost allows you to forget you are wearing dentures.
Conventional Dentures and Their Limitations
As we have already mentioned, conventional dentures have come a long way since the ones you might remember your grandparents wearing a few decades ago. However, while their appearance, fit and strength are superior to their predecessors, many people still find them challenging to live with.
Some wearers find that their dentures slip from time to time, usually at the most inappropriate moment, leading them almost to spit them out or mispronounce words. Others find that they have to think twice when choosing food from a restaurant menu, dismissing certain crunchy foods as too risky. And some never quite feel comfortable in unsecured dentures, finding them awkward and painful.
It is important to remember that not all denture users have these problems, and many get along just fine with their traditional dentures. But for those who have these kinds of issues, implant dentures are an alternative that could solve all their problems.
A Long-Term Solution: Implant-Retained Dentures
Traditional full dentures have a temporary feel about them. Many patients use them in that spirit as a stop-gap to allow them to eat and still be able to flash a beaming smile in public while awaiting a longer-term solution. That solution: implant-supported dentures.
We will go into full details of what is involved in just a moment, but in short, this type of denture consists of installing titanium implants into the jaws. These will “take” naturally; the jaws will think they are natural teeth and form bone matter around them as they heal. Your dentures are then fitted to the implants, and you are left with false teeth that look natural and are so securely attached to the jaws that you can chew food normally. This natural action helps to stimulate the jaws and preserve bone structure, so denture implants have health and well-being benefits that run deeper than you might think.
From the Initial Consultation to a Whole New Smile
Having full denture implants is a serious procedure that involves several steps. However, it is something you will only need to have done once, and most people who opt for this solution to missing teeth never look back.
Your Initial Consultation
The first step is to have a consultation with your denture dentist, who will explain implanted dentures and other possible solutions in detail and discuss their pros and cons in your particular case. This will involve taking a good look at your dental and medical history, x-rays and some mould impressions of your teeth and gums.
As well as helping you to decide if this is the right choice for you, it will also assist the dentist in assessing your suitability for implants by checking the bone density of your jaw. Even if this is insufficient, full denture implants might still be possible, but you will need to go through a preliminary step of bone grafts first.
Setting The Implant Dentures
Your next visit will be to have the implants set into your jaws. The procedure is straightforward enough, with the dentist cutting an incision in the gum and then drilling a hole into the jawbone. Once the implant is placed into the hole, the dentist sews it up, and it then needs to be left to heal for a few months.
All that cutting and drilling sounds alarming, but apart from that “sharp scratch” of the needle, you won’t feel a thing while the dentist is at work. Like any dental procedure, there will inevitably be some soreness and discomfort for a few days afterwards. Still, most people find that regular over-the-counter painkillers keep it under control.
Fusing The Implants With Your Jaw
The implants need three to six months to fuse with the bone properly. But don’t worry, you won’t have to walk around with no teeth during this period. The dentist will fit a temporary denture that is cleverly positioned to avoid placing direct pressure on the implants. Yes, eating will feel a little strange initially, and the dentist will probably advise you to avoid certain foods, but it won’t be forever!
The timing for your next visit will depend on several factors, including whether the implants are in your upper or lower jaw. Upper jaw implants take longer to fuse properly, and you might need to wait six months. Lower jaw implants can be ready in half that time. Your dentist can check on progress by taking further x-rays.
Completion of Fusing
Once the dentist is satisfied that the implants have fused satisfactorily with the jaw bone, you can start with the procedure’s second part. This is less intrusive than the first, so you can walk into the dental suite with a spring in your step, knowing that the most uncomfortable part is in the past. First, the dentist will make a small incision in the gum to expose the head of the implant. He will then attach a round collar to it. This is to separate the gums from the implant head, which will need to stay in place for about two weeks. Again, it might feel a little sore and uncomfortable, but it does not cause severe pain.
After around 10-14 days, you will be back in the dentist’s chair to have the collars replaced with abutments. These will secure your new teeth, and you are on the finishing straight by this stage!
In fact, the rest of the process is relatively routine. The dentist will take impressions of your gums, which will entirely heal with any swelling gone down by this time. The cast will be used to make your permanent denture; by this time, you will be eager to try it for the first time.
The dentist will fit a metal bar to the abutments but will not secure the denture until you have tried it several times and you and the dentist are completely satisfied. Then, the dentist will snap it into place, and all you have to do is walk across to the mirror and flash yourself a glowing smile.
Your New Smile is Complete
Yes, there are several stages involved in having full dental implants fitted, and the process can take more than six months. But when you consider that some people struggle with conventional dentures for years and even decades, depriving themselves of their favourite foods and living with daily discomfort, it doesn’t seem so long.
Implanted dentures are a long-term solution to a problem that a high percentage of us will face sooner or later in life.
Schedule an Appointment Today
We offer same-day visits and late opening hours that work around your schedule. Contact our friendly, caring today to book a time to discuss an implant-support denture set in Brighton! We’re providers with Medibank, HCF and MDF. You can claim your health fund rebate on the spot with our HICAPS machine.
* Any invasive or surgical procedure may carry risks. Before moving forward, it is recommended that you seek a second opinion from an appropriately licensed medical professional.
Common Questions For Implant-Supported Dentures
How long to implanted dentures last?
Dentures with implants represent a long-term solution. The implants themselves should last a lifetime, provided you follow good oral health practices and have regular check-ups. The denture can wear over time but generally lasts 10 to 15 years.
How painful are implant dentures?
You should not feel a thing during the procedure itself – if there is any pain, tell the dentist, and you will be given an extra anaesthetic. Over the following 48 hours, there may be some aching and soreness after the anaesthetic wears off, but it should not be severe and is easily managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
Can denture implants be done in one day?
The implant itself is placed in the bone in a single procedure and does not take long. However, you will then need to wait several months for the implant to fuse with the jawbone before the new dentures over implants can be made and fitted.
Do I have to have a temporary denture?
Some people already have a permanent complete denture that they are looking to replace with implant-supported dentures. In this case, you can continue to use it while the implants fuse with the bone. If you don’t already have a denture, you will need a temporary one to get on with life while you wait for the fusion process to complete.
Are Implant-supported Dentures superior to Traditional Dentures?
Implant-supported dentures are superior to traditional dentures when it comes to retention and, consequently, the patient’s ability to chew. Firstly, there is no risk of the implant-supported dentures giving you the awkward moments of falling out of your mouth when you are talking as it is securely connected to the implants with connecting screws. Secondly, you can chew normally like you had your teeth there again and not have to pick your food carefully.
There are also several different types of materials that can be used to make the denture so the strength and aesthetics will also be superior to traditional dentures, which are made of acrylic, a type of plastic.
Are Implant Supported Dentures a lot more expensive?
Implant Supported Dentures cost more due to the complexity and length of time involved in the procedure however it is the closest option to natural teeth if you have lost all your teeth. It involves surgically placing the implants in the jaw and making the denture on top to precisely connect to the implants. Several choices of materials can be used for making dentures to make them stronger and look better.
Do implant retained dentures remain in your mouth overnight?
Implant-retained dentures can remain in your mouth overnight; however, just like a traditional denture, we always recommend taking it out at night to give your gums and soft tissues time to rest after wearing it all day. This also reduces the risk of food getting trapped under the denture leading to gum disease around the implants and bad breath.
How strong are implant retained dentures?
Implant-retained dentures rely on clips or bars to attach to the implants. These are usually made from a metal framework with acrylic over the top to replace the missing teeth and gums. They are not as strong as some of the other materials used for implant-supported dentures; however, they are sufficient for normal foods and chewing.