Dental Implants Existing Partial
Dental implants can provide added stability for dentures in addition to making them more comfortable to wear. Some of the additional benefits associated with combining traditional dentures with implants include added self-confidence, improved nutrition, and stimulation of the jawbone.
Traditional dentures are prosthetic teeth which sit on top of the gums in the mouth. Because of the missing tooth and lack of stimulation to the jawbone, it often deteriorates over time and can change the structure of the jaw and face. When implants are used to secure the dentures, they are able to provide the patient with an improved fit, added stability, and stimulate the jawbone.
Using impressions from the mouth, dentures are custom-made in a dental lab. It is common to use dentures when a patient is missing several or all of their teeth in the top and or bottom jaw. Two primary types of dentures exist which includes full dentures and partial dentures.
For full dentures, an upper base fits securely over the roof of the mouth. A lower base includes a horseshoe shape which allows it to comfortably accommodate the tongue. Partial dentures rest on framework which is attached to the natural teeth. This is considered a removable alternative to a permanent dental bridge.
Dental implants work by the dentist surgically placing a screw-like titanium implant post into the jawbone. The implant serves as the root for the artificial tooth. As the body naturally heals, the tissues around the implant permanently fuse to the jawbone. Implants which contain a crown are able to be used to replace a single missing tooth, multiple teeth or the teeth of the entire jaw. Implants can also act as the base to support traditional dentures.
It is common to use implant-retained dentures for the lower jaw as traditional dentures can be especially unstable here. While patients can still receive an implant-supported denture in the upper jaw, it is less common. The dentist will typically place the implants in the jaw towards the front of the mouth, which typically contains more bone compared to the jawbone in the back.
The combination of dentures which contain dental implants provides patients with a tooth-replacement solution that contains numerous advantages compared to standard dentures.
Simplicity & Stability
When removable dentures are combined with implants, the procedure will typically involve the placement of two or more implants to secure the dentures. This provides patients with the robustness of permanent implants along with the simplicity and affordability of a traditional dentures.
An overdenture is permanently attached to the implants, which means patients do not have to worry about the dentures slipping or falling out during use.
Challenges with Traditional Dentures
Many patients who opt to use traditional dentures as their tooth-replacement solution are disappointed with the results. Because dentures rest on the gums and lack support, they can easily slip out of place during use, which is especially common in the lower jaw. A dental adhesive is used to secure the dentures in place on the gums, however, it comes with its own challenges. When dentures are combined with dental implants, they have an incredibly strong and durable base. This also provides the patient with easy removal to clean the dentures when necessary.
Traditional dentures rest directly on top of the gums. While the adhesive is used to secure the dentures in place, they can still easily become loose or completely slip out of place. Implant overdentures are attached to the implant which is permanent fused to the jawbone and incredibly secure. For many patients, implants are nearly indiscernible from their natural teeth.
Overdentures and Traditional Dentures
In addition to the increased stability offered by implants, other benefits include the following:
- Cost: Implant-retained dentures are more affordable than individual implants.
- Function & Appearance: With a missing tooth, the bone can begin to resorb due to the lack of stimulation from the root. This can have a negative impact on the appearance of the face and oral function. While traditional dentures do not solve this issue, implants stimulate the jaw and prevent the deterioration of the bone.
- Permanent: Implant-supported dentures provide patients with a permanent solution for their tooth loss as the implant fuses to the jawbone. Other tooth-replacement options deteriorate over time and require adjustments and/or replacement.
- Speech: Dentures which do not fit properly often slip and make it difficult to speak properly. Implant overdentures are secure and give patients the ability to speak with correct annunciation.
Dentures and Bone Loss
Because the jawbone will shrink over time with traditional dentures, it is nearly impossible to prevent them from gradually becoming loose. Traditional dentures do not contain a root and therefore are unable to properly distribute the bite forces throughout the jaw. This causes the bone to recede, in a similar way to if there are no teeth present.
When there is prolonged use of an ill-fitting dental plate, it can result in the additional loss of bone. When this occurs, the dentures must be adjusted or replaced. Implants, in comparison, are unique as they provide stimulation to the jawbone and evenly distribute the forces from chewing, similar to the natural teeth.
The process of the titanium implant bonding to the jawbone is called osseointegration. This gives the jawbone the stimulation required to maintain its structure and aids in preventing degeneration.
Overdentures: Self-Confidence and Function
The combination of dentures and dental implants improves both the function and the aesthetics of the tooth-replacement solution. Overdentures also enhance the patient’s facial structure while allowing the patient to consume a balanced diet with a proper bite and normal chewing. Implant-supported dentures are an excellent solution for restoring a patient’s smile and self-esteem, while simultaneously providing them with a strong bite and secure base.
Dental implants have an impressive success rate of nearly 98 percent. When implant overdentures are properly cared for, they can last a lifetime. It is important for patients to remove overdentures daily for cleaning and during the night for sleep. The gums and implant attachments should also be cleaned and well maintained.
For patients considering overdentures, it is critical to work with a qualified and experienced dental surgeon who specializes in implants. Dental surgeons are required to complete additional training in a hospital-based residency following their completion of dental school.
In cases where the jawbone lacks adequate support for an implant, a bone graft will be required. The procedure for placing an implant includes surgery and requires that patients be in good overall health.