Implant-Supported DenturesConventional dentures have been around for many decades, and most of us are familiar with the concept of an acrylic denture with plastic dental teeth and which rests on the gums. Implant-supported dentures are quite different and are a much more up-to-date treatment. Instead of resting on the gums, the denture is supported by dental implants, which are small titanium alloy posts inserted directly into the jawbone. The denture has special attachments that clip firmly onto the implants. We’ve taken a closer look at each treatment.

Conventional Dentures

Conventional dentures are a traditional treatment option that is still widely used. One major attraction of this treatment is that it can be very cost-effective. Some people prefer the thought of having a conventional denture because it’s so minimally invasive. A well-made denture can look quite natural and when properly designed will provide the correct amount of support for the muscles in the cheeks and lips. Conventional dentures are easy to care for and can last for several years before they need replacing. That said, conventional dentures are a far from perfect solution.

Initially, when teeth are first removed your jawbone is still quite intact. However, after teeth and natural teeth, roots are extracted, your jawbone will soon change shape. The reason for these changes is because old bone cells are no longer renewed as they lose the stimulation provided by natural tooth roots. When this loss occurs, the ridge of bone that used to support your natural teeth gradually gets narrower, and its height diminishes.

Bone loss affects your dental health in a couple of different ways. Firstly, it results in a loss of facial dimensions and is one of the reasons why the facial features of people with complete tooth loss will often appear to have a collapsed-in look. Although these dimensions can be restored to some extent using conventional dentures, retention becomes a huge problem. Without sufficient bone to hold your denture in place, the denture is more likely to move around. These movements can create sore spots on your gums, and the pressure of wearing a denture can even accelerate bone loss.

When you have a denture that moves around, then eating is more difficult and social situations can become a nightmare rather than a pleasure. Often, people with ill-fitting dentures will become increasingly isolated because they feel embarrassed about their teeth. Denture adhesives only provide a temporary solution and can be messy and expensive to use.

If this sounds a little too familiar, then you’ll be interested in learning about dental implants and how they can support dentures.

Implant-Supported Dentures

Dental implants have changed the face of dentistry over the past couple of decades, providing people with a reliable, long-term solution for tooth loss. One of the most popular uses for dental implants is to hold dentures securely, and there are lots of advantages in choosing this treatment.

One of the most significant advantages in choosing implant-supported dentures is an approved ability to chew food. You may not realize it, but when you chew with natural teeth, then it creates a tremendous amount of pressure, typically anywhere between 200 and 600 psi of biting force. When you try to chew food with a conventional denture, the amount of force that can be tolerated is only around 50 psi, and the pressure of chewing can accelerate bone loss as the denture presses down on your gums. With dental implants, the ability to chew food properly is restored.

When you can chew more efficiently, it dramatically increases your food choices. Not only does this make mealtimes more exciting and enjoyable, but it also makes it easier for you to eat a nutritious diet. It’s important to eat correctly to ensure your body is well nourished and able to fight infection and disease more easily.

Another massive advantage of implant-supported dentures is the reduction in bone loss. Spokane Family Smiles explains, "Most people assume that their teeth are entirely made up of the white crowns that form a smile, but this isn’t actually true. There’s another important part under the surface of your gums – the root. Your teeth roots are a vital contribution to your jawbone, stimulating the tissue there and keeping the area full and healthy. Without them, patients experience deterioration, higher risks of additional tooth loss, and an eventual “hunched” facial appearance. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement solution that actually replicates the entire structure of your natural tooth, allowing patients to avoid these problems and enjoy a healthy, natural-looking smile that will last for 30 years, 40 years, or even the rest of their life."

What about the Affordability of Implant-Supported Dentures?

Cost is obviously a huge factor for any form of dental treatment, but implant-supported dentures are surprisingly cost-effective. Generally, our dentist Dr. Benjamin Hull will only need to use four dental implants for each arch to firmly support and stabilize your dentures. Sometimes it’s even possible to use just two dental implants in the lower arch, depending on your dental health and needs. The reason why it’s possible to use so few dental implants is due to the way they are inserted into the jawbone.

Often two dental implants are placed right at the front of the jawbone in the area where your front teeth used to be, and these are inserted vertically. Another two dental implants are used, with one inserted either side of the vertical implants. These implants are often placed at an angle, so they tilt backward. By tilting these implants, it’s possible to use a slightly longer implant post. The increased connection with the surrounding bone provides better stability and strength. Inserting the implants towards the front of the mouth also helps to maximize use of available bone. The bone towards the front of your mouth is generally stronger and denser, and more able to support dental implants which can help reduce or even eliminate the need for bone grafts.

What about the Actual Procedure to Place Dental Implants?

It’s true that if you opt for an implant-supported denture, then you will need a small surgical procedure to insert the implants into your jaw. Don’t worry because the procedure is really quite short, and every precaution is taken to ensure you feel comfortable and relaxed. If necessary, you can have additional sedation so don’t let the thought of surgery put you off benefiting from this treatment. Dr. Hull meticulously plans every single implant treatment using advanced diagnostic imaging to pinpoint the exact location for each dental implant. Preplanning your treatment takes place behind-the-scenes, so that when the time comes for your implant surgery, the actual procedure will be quicker and smoother, and ultimately more comfortable.

Implant-supported dentures won’t be right for everybody, but they have already helped an enormous number of people, many of whom may have spent years struggling with loose and uncomfortable conventional dentures. The best way to find out if implant-supported dentures could help you is to book a consultation with us here at Ivory Dental.