Dental Implants Existing Partial
In considering the various forms of tooth replacement technology that are available today, it is important to remember that conventional dentures and traditional dental implants are not the only options. A highly functional alternative effectively combines these two technologies to create what are sometimes referred to as overdentures and other times as implant-retained dentures.
Not only can overdentures provide a much more stable and comfortable alternative to conventional dentures, they also do so by using strategically placed dental implants in such a way as to provide the benefits that dental implants provide without incurring the high cost of an entire set of dental implants.
Creating and Placing Implant-Retained Dentures
Implant-retained dentures, or overdentures, are composed of two primary parts: the arch(es) that support the prosthetic crown (i.e. the dentures) and the dental implants that hold them in place. Unlike conventional dentures, the acrylic bases that form the visible overdentures are slim and streamlined. Because they are connected to small titanium posts that are sunk deep into the jawbone for support, they don’t have to rely on a big, bulky appliance that fit tightly around one’s mouth. Instead, they are designed much more minimally, with the acrylic playing a cosmetic role rather than a structural one.
These thin arches with prosthetic teeth are first created in a dental lab to fit your unique anatomy and make space for any existing teeth they might need to fit around. They are then connected to a set of dental implants that are first surgically connected with the jawbone.
While the overdentures are being made, a dentist or oral surgeon inserts a set of dental implant fixtures into the jaw where they are then left to heal and fuse with the bone. The time it takes for the implants to fuse with the bone can vary quite a bit based on age, baseline health, and other factors, but generally is finalized after two to four months. In contrast to a full set of dental implants, which requires an implant fixture for every prosthetic crown, overdentures are able to function with just two to four implant fixtures on each arch. Your dentist or oral surgeon may suggest more implants to more fully support the dentures, primarily for increased stability and comfort.
Because the installation and functioning of the dental implants happens below the surface of the gums, they also remain completely out of sight. All that is visible above the surface of the gums are the overdentures, held firmly in place with the deep, structural support that the implants provide.
Benefits of Implant-Retained Dentures
There are numerous benefits to implant-retained dentures, including the following:
- Increased confidence – One of the top complaints about conventional dentures is that they tend to move around in the mouth just when you want them to stay put. This can lead to awkward and even embarrassing moments at the dinner table or at social and professional events. Having had this happen, those who use conventional dentures can sometimes become anxious about their teeth slipping at the wrong moment, leading some to forego some social events that before they would have happily attended. With the added support that implant-retained dentures provide, this worry can be a thing of the past.
- Increased function – In addition to allaying real or perceived fears about social snafus with sliding teeth, overdentures or implant-retained dentures can also open up a whole new world of culinary exploration for those who have been using conventional dentures. With the help of the dental implants keeping the dentures in place, their wearers can enjoy a much wider range of foods without worry.
- Increased comfort – All of this makes implant-retained dentures much more comfortable, too. The slipping and sliding associated with conventional dentures is not only awkward, it’s also uncomfortable, and repeated friction against the gums can cause painful sores that can become infected over time. Many clients find that simply moving to implant-retained dentures can greatly improve their quality of life in terms of their day-to-day comfort, and that is always worth a little extra cost, isn’t it?
- Improved bone health – There are also some benefits that are somewhat less readily apparent, like improved bone health. When teeth go missing, the roots do, too, and while it might not seem like it, this can cause a real problem for the jaw. Absent the stimulation from the roots, bone mass can begin to deteriorate more quickly, which has an impact on the shape of one’s mouth and the rest of their face, as well. By inserting dental implant fixtures into the jawbone where roots once were, the jaw can maintain its mass much more easily, thereby improving bone health.
- More natural facial appearance – While function and comfort should be taken into account first, it’s also important to recognize that implant-retained dentures can help their users maintain a more natural and youthful facial appearance. This is because implant-retained dentures support the oral structure more thoroughly than do conventional dentures, both in the mouth and below the surface of the gums. This can also contribute to a greater quality of life by boosting overall confidence and good mental health.
Deciding Whether Implant-Retained Dentures are Right for You
While there are many benefits to implant-retained dentures, only a qualified dentist or oral surgeon can help you make this important decision. While they are available at almost any age (with the exception of those who have not yet reached skeletal maturity, which usually happens by the late teens or early twenties), one must have enough healthy available bone mass for the dental implants to be inserted and enjoy strong enough baseline health to undergo the initial surgical procedure.
To find out more about how implant-retained dentures could improve your quality of life, reach out to a trusted dentist or oral surgeon today. They will talk you more thoroughly through the process, evaluate your candidacy, provide some alternatives, if necessary, and even put an action plan into place. So why wait? Call today for your own individualized consultation.