Complete tooth loss is still a common issue; dental implants are often the best solution when it comes to replacing an entire arch of teeth. However, some people are deterred from seeking dental implant treatment because of the potential costs, believing they are too expensive. Implant-supported dentures are one affordable treatment option, combining the benefits of dental implants with the affordability of a traditional denture.
What’s Wrong with Having a Traditional Denture?
While a traditional denture that sits directly on the gums is the most economical way to replace a complete arch of teeth, this solution has many disadvantages. These can include the following.
Teeth move around uncomfortably, often creating sore spots on the gums that fail to heal.
Messy and expensive denture adhesive is often needed to hold dentures in place.
Talking and eating certain foods can be difficult with loose dentures.
There is the anxiety that a denture could fall out or shift embarrassingly when you talk with others
Dentures must be removed at night so they can be cleaned thoroughly and soaked in a denture solution.
What Are the Benefits of Choosing Implant Teeth?
Now compare these disadvantages with the potential benefits of implant teeth, including the following.
Dental implants act like replacement tooth roots and help protect and prevent jawbone loss around them, which occurs naturally after real teeth are removed.
Dental implants can last for many years problem-free or even for life, provided you care for them properly.
Implant teeth are held firmly in place, so there is no risk they could shift or move around when you talk or eat, avoiding those embarrassing situations.
Dental implant teeth provide a far greater biting strength than ordinary dentures, making it easier to enjoy a greater choice of foods.
With more food options available, it’s possible to improve overall nutrition. This can protect overall health so your body finds it easier to fight infection and remain strong and healthy.
Dental implants protect your remaining natural teeth, preventing them from shifting out of place without harming them.
Implant teeth are designed to look and feel natural and to function similarly to real teeth, making it easy to forget that you have ever lost your natural teeth.
One downside to choosing implant teeth is the potential cost, as the upfront price can seem high. However, when you consider this cost over many years or over a lifetime, the price seems much more reasonable.
There is a good reason why dental implants are more expensive as they are a sophisticated treatment using high-quality dental implant components that have been subjected to years of clinical research and refinement. Dental implant dentists must carry out additional training; for example, an oral surgeon has years of additional training in planning and placing implants successfully.
Dental implant dentists often have more sophisticated technology in their dental office, like a cone beam CT scanner and other equipment to plan and place implants successfully. The implant teeth can also cost more than denture teeth because they are made from the latest materials, including high-quality, durable zirconia implants that look amazingly lifelike.
Even though zirconia material may be a better choice for restoring the dental implants in front teeth where the biting and chewing forces are less extreme than replacing back teeth, it can also be used for Implant-supported dentures.
Implant-supported dentures combine the best of dentures and dental implants.
What Are Implant-Supported Dentures?
Implant-supported dentures are a relatively affordable implant treatment where only a few dental implants are needed to support a complete arch of teeth. Usually, anywhere between two and six dental implants are needed to support an arch of teeth, depending on whether you need the upper or lower jaw restored.
A dental implant dentist can often plan and place just four dental implants to support an entire arch of 10 or 12 teeth. This is far fewer than is needed with other implant treatments.
Once the implants are in place, a special set of implant teeth is attached. These implant teeth are permanently attached and can only be removed by an implant dentist. Once the implant teeth are in place, you have all the benefits of having dental implants, including non-removable teeth.
Who Can Have Implant-Supported Dentures?
Book an initial consultation with an experienced dental implant dentist at Riverside Oral Surgery if you consider implant-supported dentures. We can assess your dental and general health by conducting a dental exam and reviewing your medical history. Your medical history is important because implants are surgically inserted into your jawbone. Once in the bone, it fuses with the jawbone thoroughly to create a strong anchorage point for your new implant teeth. This process, called Osseointegration, cannot occur if you have health problems that may affect your body’s ability to heal or if you have lifestyle habits like smoking that also negatively impact healing.
The good news is that most people are suitable for implants, and even if you have health problems that affect your immune system, such as diabetes, you can probably still have this treatment, provided the diabetes is well controlled. Your dental implant dentist can fully assess your situation and determine if implants are the right choice or if you would benefit from another form of tooth replacement.
What Is the Process for Having Implant Supported Dentures?
1. Assessment and diagnosis
Your suitability for treatment will be assessed.
Diagnostic tests will be performed, including a cone beam CT scan.
The CT scan will provide detailed 3-D images of your jaws, any remaining teeth, and other structures to be avoided during implant surgery.
The CT scan will also be used to assess the quality and quantity of jawbone available for implant placement.
If you lost teeth quite some time ago, you may have inadequate bone, so you will need a bone grafting procedure beforehand to build up the missing bone.
The CT scan will also be used to plan precisely where each implant should be inserted during surgery.
A computer-generated stent, a template, will be created for use during surgery.
The template will guide your implant dentist during surgery, ensuring the implant plan is replicated precisely.
3. Implant placement
Once the dental implants are in place, two options are available to your implant dentist.
Option 1: The implants may be covered and left to heal for several months so they can fuse with your jawbone. In the meantime, your implant dentist may adapt an existing denture or provide you with a temporary denture to wear during healing. Once the dental implants are fused, they will uncover them and begin making your new set of teeth that will be permanently fitted in place when fabrication is complete.
Option 2: Your implant dentist may fix a temporary set of teeth to the implants soon after surgery, sometimes on the same day. These temporary teeth help to splint the implants together, preventing any movement during healing. These implant teeth are largely for cosmetic purposes, and you will need to adjust your diet during this time, eating softer foods with minimal or no chewing required. When your implants are fully healed, the temporary teeth are replaced with permanent ones.
Caring for Implant Supported Dentures
Looking after implant-supported dentures is easy, and your implant dentist will show you exactly how to clean around them, ensuring you can clean the implants thoroughly every day. You must also ensure you have regular dental checkups and hygiene appointments so your implants can be cleaned professionally and any maintenance required can be carried out regularly.
Keeping your dental implants clean is extremely important because otherwise, the bone and gum around them could become infected with a disease similar to gum disease called peri-implantitis. Without prompt treatment, this could ultimately lead to implant failure, wasting all the time and money you spent on your beautiful implant teeth. Caring for your implant teeth properly will greatly reduce the risk of this happening, and it’s worth remembering that dental implant treatment has a success rate of 95%. Some more experienced implant dentists, like periodontists, have success rates as high as 98%.
If you have questions about Implant Supported Dentures, to learn more, or to schedule a consultation with the implant specialist at Riverside Oral Surgery, call our center at (551) 287-2322 or visit any of our New Jersey locations.