Denture-wearers often make the switch to implant-supported dentures when prioritizing stability and an enhanced ability to chew. Although both devices are great for those who have lost their teeth, implant-supported dentures have key benefits for the health, lifestyle and appearance of a patient.
Conventional dentures are custom-made prosthetic teeth that sit on top of the gums, held in place by mouth muscles. These artificial rows of teeth help edentulous patients eat, smile and speak better. However, traditional dentures have certain limitations. For example, patients must restrict their diet to easy-to-eat, softer foods. These dentures are held in place by the mouth muscles, not the jawbone, so one must be careful not to eat overly crunchy or chewy foods.
Modern dentists have now come up with a new system of teeth replacement that allows the wearer to use their prostheses much more naturally. This is where implant-supported dentures come in.
Unlike conventional dentures, implant-supported dentures are secured using a system of strategically placed dental implants in the upper and lower jaw. Dentists usually recommend implant-supported dentures on the lower jaw specifically, as regular dentures do not sit as well there.
Implants are best known for single-tooth replacement, but they can be used to accomplish several dental tasks. As few as four dental implants per jaw can support an entire row of artificial teeth.
Dental implants are screw-like titanium posts that are surgically inserted into the jaw where tooth loss has occurred. For implant-supported dentures, the posts are inserted at a specific distance away from each other, in a configuration that allows for the most stability when attaching a denture.
After the implants are successfully placed, the bone must have time to heal around the posts. This process is known as osseointegration and can take up to nine months before the implants can bear weight properly. Once the bone has fused with the implants, the custom denture can then be fitted. These implants are durable and can last a lifetime with proper maintenance and care.
There are two types of implant-supported dentures: removable and fixed. Removable dentures work much like conventional dentures, where they are meant to be removed by the patient at home. However, implant-supported removable dentures have the benefit of added support and are much more secure than conventional dentures, especially on the lower jaw. These dentures can last for years before needing replacement.
Fixed implant-supported dentures are designed to stay in place on the implants permanently, only being removed by a dentist for maintenance or repair. Fixed implant-supported dentures are a bit more costly, as they are built to last longer.
Ready to start on the journey to functional, beautiful teeth and a complete smile? Give our office a call today to schedule a consultation.
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