Benefits of Combining Dentures with Dental Implants
Implants provide stability for dentures, making them more comfortable. Other benefits of combining dentures with dental implants include increased self-confidence, better nutrition, and improved facial appearance.
Dentures are designed to fit over a ridge of soft tissue and bone but the bone undergoes constant deterioration with time, leaving dentures little to hold onto. Implants used to retain dentures make for a better fit and provide a greater level of functionality.
How Dentures and Implants Work Together
Dentures are custom-made in a lab from impressions made of your mouth. They are generally used when all or several teeth have been lost. There are two main types of dentures: full dentures and partial dentures.
With full dentures, an upper base fits over the roof of the mouth, and a lower base accommodates the tongue with a horseshoe-like shape. A partial denture rests on a framework attached to your natural teeth and is a removable alternative to a dental bridge.
A dental implant is a titanium screw that’s inserted into the jaw to create an artificial tooth root. Over time, surrounding tissue heals around the implant, which then becomes a permanent part of the bone. Implants with a crown fitted onto them can replace a single tooth, several teeth or all the teeth. They can also act as a support for dentures.
Implant-retained dentures are often used for the lower jaw, where traditional dentures can be unstable, although you can still have an implant-supported denture in your upper jaw. Implants are usually inserted in the jaw at the front of the mouth, where there tends to be more bone than in the back.
Combining dentures with dental implants produces a tooth replacement system with many advantages over standard dentures.
Stability and Simplicity
Combining removable dentures with implants entails two or more implants being installed to secure your dentures in place. This gives you the robustness of permanent dental implants alongside the simplicity of a conventional denture appliance.
Because the overdenture is fixed to the implants, you don't have to worry about them slipping out when you're talking or eating.
Problems with Regular Dentures
Traditional dentures can lead to awkward problems with keeping them in place, particularly in the lower jaw. The dental adhesive is typically used in an attempt to overcome this issue by reinforcing the natural forces that hold dentures in place.
However, denture fixative does not necessarily address the problem of badly-fitting dentures, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which says that generally, dentures that have been fitted properly and are looked after should not need extra adhesion. Combining dentures with dental implants provides an effective alternative to adhesives, holding the dentures firmly in place but enabling easy removal for cleaning.
Traditional dentures rest on the gums and, even with denture fixative, can become loose or slip out of place entirely. Implant overdentures are fixed to metal supports attached to implants that have fused with the jaw bone. This makes them just as secure as natural teeth.
Why Overdentures are Better than Regular Dentures
Besides stability, other benefits of implant-retained dentures include:
• Improved functionality and appearance. When natural teeth have been lost, nearby bone no longer needs to support them, so your body starts to resorb the bone as redundant. This can significantly affect facial appearance and oral functionality. Traditional dentures can’t avoid this problem, but implants help to preserve the structural integrity of the jaw.
• Permanent solution. Implant dentures offer a permanent solution to tooth loss because the implants become part of your jaw. Other methods of tooth replacement, including standard dentures and bridges, may well need swapping out with time.
• Clearer speech. Poorly-fitting dentures can slip within the mouth, causing you to mumble or slur your words. Implant overdentures impact positively on speech ability.
• Affordability. Implant-retained dentures are often more cost effective compared with getting individual implants throughout the mouth
Bone Loss Issues with Standard Dentures
Regular dentures will over time gradually become loose through shrinkage of the oral bone structure.
This bone loss happens because standard dentures, unlike implant overdentures, have no roots and can’t direct the bite function to the jaw. This results in the bone recession, as it would if you had a toothless mouth.
Prolonged use of a badly-fitting dental plate may cause further bone loss, and standard dentures will have to be realigned or replaced eventually. On the other hand, implants are unique in dentistry because they encourage bone growth and have a bite pressure as strong as that of natural teeth.
The titanium in the implant bonds with the jaw in a process called osseointegration, which fuses the titanium post and bone into a solid, single unit. The process provides the stimulation that bones need to thrive. Without it, the jaw will degenerate with time.
Enhanced Self-Confidence and Functionality with Overdentures
Combining dentures with dental implants improves both functionality and aesthetics. Overdentures enhance your facial appearance while enabling good nutrition by allowing you to bite and chew normally. Implant-supported dentures can restore your smile and your self-esteem while giving you a bite function far more powerful than that of regular dentures.
Dental implants have a success rate of up to 98 percent, and implant overdentures, when looked after properly, can last a lifetime. Overdentures should be taken out daily for cleaning and at night before you go to sleep. You should also clean your gums and the implant attachments.
Finding an Expert to Combine Dentures with Dental Implants
If you’re thinking about getting overdentures, it’s advisable to find an experienced dental surgeon specializing in implants. Dental surgeons undergo extra training in a hospital-based residency after completing dental school.
The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) reported in 2014 that almost one in five implants by general dentists was failing. The overall high success rate of implants is largely because most procedures are carried out by skilled surgical specialists with a wealth of experience.
If there is insufficient bone structure to support an implant, a graft will be necessary. Because an implant is a surgical procedure, patients have to be in good general health. Conditions like diabetes may slow healing after surgery.
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