Modern dentistry offers many ways to prevent tooth loss, but sometimes circumstances lead people to lose some or all of their natural teeth. It is estimated that 40 million people in the USA have no natural teeth. To maintain a normal and healthy life, these people need to find reasonable solutions to their tooth loss. In most cases, patients choose dentures to replace some or all of their lost natural teeth. Dentures can be a practical and affordable option for most patients, though the type of dentures chosen varies from person to person. Temporary dentures may be uncomfortable, as they rest on the gums and use suction to secure to the inside of the mouth. As time progresses, temporary dentures may lose their secure fit, causing them to loosen, which may lead to problems for the wearer. For these reasons of convenience, comfort, and appearance, sometimes patients choose wilmington implant-supported dentures in cases of partial or total tooth loss.
A denture, also known simply as “false teeth,” is a replacement for missing teeth and gum tissue. The two most common types of dentures are full dentures and partial dentures; full dentures replace all the teeth, while partial dentures are used when patients are missing some, but not all, teeth. Some people have a denture for just the top or bottom teeth, while others have dentures on both the top and bottom rows of teeth. Some people choose temporary, or removable, dentures, while others choose implant-supported dentures. Denture implants are screws, usually made of titanium, that are surgically implanted into the jawbone. Once implanted into the bone, these screws act as a secure attachment for a denture. Depending on the number of teeth that need to be replaced, your dentist may implant anywhere from two to six strategically placed screws in your jawbone. While sometimes people confuse implants and dentures, the implant itself is just the screw that is installed in the jawbone; once in place, the implant acts as a root, essentially, for the replacement tooth or teeth. The denture, or crown, is the replacement tooth or teeth that the dentist attaches to the implanted screw, using a fastener called an abutment. Implant-supported dentures are an increasingly popular treatment to replace missing teeth. Depending on the strength, density, and size of the jawbone, your dentist may choose to use standard-sized implants, or they may use mini or midi implants. Mini and midi implants may be more appropriate for patients with lower bone density.
Implant-supported dentures may be your best option for a number of reasons. First, these dentures are immovable. The implant itself strengthens the jawbone, maintaining the shape and structure of the jaw and allowing a stable foundation for the dentures. When teeth are removed from the mouth and are not replaced with an implant, deterioration of the jaw eventually occurs, causing temporary dentures to loosen. This may necessitate one or more new sets of dentures as the jaw changes shape. Implants prevent this from happening, strengthening the jawbone and providing long-lasting, stable support for permanent dentures. In turn, these implants preserve and protect the integrity of the jawbone and the shape of the lower face, encouraging natural bone growth and staving off the early signs of aging that can accompany the removal of the natural teeth. Implant-supported dentures also take up less room in the mouth, providing a more comfortable experience and a more realistic appearance. Because more of the natural gum tissue is exposed with implant-supported dentures, patients are more able to taste their food and beverages, providing greater enjoyment and pleasure in eating and drinking, as well as a more comfortable and secure experience.
While there are some drawbacks to implant-supported dentures, most patients report that these drawbacks do not outweigh the benefits. The first drawback is the simple fact that implant-supported dentures require surgery. While surgery is never to be taken lightly, dental implant surgery is a relatively painless procedure with a brief recovery time. Your dentist will use an anesthetic that will prevent pain during the procedure and will provide instructions for a comfortable recovery. In some cases, patients require bone grafts before dental implants can be placed, which may require a more in-depth surgery and longer recovery and treatment times, but your doctor will discuss this with you before performing any procedures, allowing you to make an informed decision. Implant-supported dentures are also more expensive than removable dentures, sometimes costing as much as $20,000, which may be partly covered by dental insurance, though many patients are happy with the trade-off. Of course, it is important to choose an experienced and skilled dentist for your treatment. With proper installation and regular care, dental implants can last a lifetime, though in the cases of some medical ailments, the surrounding bone may be weakened, thereby shortening the life of the implants. Talk to your dentist about any medical issues you may have that could interfere with implant-supported dentures, like diabetes or cancer. The crowns themselves will last about 10 to 15 years and require the same regular dental hygiene as natural teeth, including regular brushing and flossing. Some implants bear more of the stress of chewing than others and may therefore have a shorter expected lifespan, but implant-supported dentures are designed to be permanent, useful replacement teeth and can often last a lifetime with proper care.
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