More than half of patients who wear dentures feel that the dentures place limitations and restrictions on their daily living. In addition, certain types of foods must be avoided. While the limitations and discomfort associated with dentures are unfortunate, there is an improved solution available through permanent dentures. Fixed dentures, which are also called non-removable or permanent dentures, are essentially dentures which contain a row of prosthetic teeth connected to a framework and secured with dental implants. Through the use of permanent dentures, patients are able to perform routine tasks such as eating, chewing, biting, talking and smiling without limitation or the fear that the denture may slip out of place.
Permanent dentures or denture implants are false teeth which are secured to the jawbone. Unlike traditional dentures, permanent dentures cannot be removed. Through the use of the dental implants, the dentures feel and wear quite similar to natural teeth. The implants also greatly reduce any chance of the dentures falling out or shifting, which is quite unlikely. Because they are permanent, they also cannot be misplaced. Permanent denture implants can be used as needed whether there is a single tooth or entire jaw of teeth missing.
Permanent Denture Candidates
Patients who are good candidates for permanent denture implants need to have a sufficient amount of bone in their jaw to support the implants. Ideal candidates for implants are in good overall health and have good oral health as well. Good oral hygiene is critical in ensuring a smooth recovery and to aid in the longevity of the implants.
Since around 700 BC, removable dentures have been in use. While the materials and techniques have changed, dentures are an outdated solution to the issue of missing teeth. However, denture implants, provide a modern solution which resolves many of the challenges associated with traditional dentures. Below are some of the key advantages in selecting permanent implant dentures:
- Daily removal is not required for cleaning
- Excellent fit and comfort; customized for each patient
- Fixed dentures allow patients to enjoy the foods they love without limitation or the fear of the denture coming loose
- Minimal number of dental implants required for procedure
- Permanent dentures offer an even distribution when biting
- Secure, long-lasting and reliable solution
- Shorter time for surgery and healing in addition to a less-invasive procedure
- Stimulates the jawbone and supports facial features
Patients who wear traditional dentures often complain about the pain and discomfort. Because traditional dentures rest of the gums, they can also cause rubbing and sores when they do not properly fit. Permanent denture implants, in comparison, eliminate this pain as they are customized to the patient and secured to the jawbone.
When permanent dentures are used, an adhesive is not required to secure the dentures in place. In many cases, the adhesive gel or paste used to secure the dentures often contains zinc and other harmful ingredients.
According to the FDA, the use of denture adhesives can result in excessive levels of zinc in the body. When the body contains excess zinc, it can cause nerve damage, particularly in the feet and hands.
Traditional dentures which rest of top of the jaw, can result in a loss of facial structure. Because there is no stimulation in the jaw where the teeth are missing, the jawbone can begin to resorb. This can cause a sunken in appearance and change the structure of the face. Permanent dentures, however, do stimulate the jaw and give the face the necessary support. This helps to prevent resorption or a change in appearance.
Permanent dentures also allow patients to confidently eat without limitations. With the permanent denture solution, patients are able to eat what they want, without any restrictions or modifications. With traditional dentures, the patient’s diet often needs to be modified or the dentures need to be removed when consuming certain foods. Permanent dentures ensure patients are able to eat the foods they love without worry or fear of the dentures coming loose.
Surgery is required to place the implants. Based on the type of implant being used and whether additional procedures are required, it may take multiple visits to complete the placement of the implant. The procedure will begin with the dentist removing the necessary teeth, if they are still present in the mouth. Once complete, the jawbone will be prepared for surgery. In some cases, a bone graft is required prior to the placement of the implant. Next, the dentist will place the metal implant post. Lastly, the dentist will attach the crown which contains the artificial tooth. In most cases, the entire procedure takes a few months to complete. A majority of this time is allowing the jaw to healing and fuse to the implant.
Prior to receiving dental implants, the patient will undergo a complete dental exam. This typically includes X-rays and molds of the teeth. During the initial appointment or consultation, the dentist will also obtain the patient’s health history, in addition to any medications. The surgical placement of the implant is an outpatient procedure and completed in a single day.
Following the implant procedure there may be slight discomfort, however this can often be managed with the use of an over-the-counter pain medication and ice. It is common for patients to experience some swelling or bruising on face and gums following the procedure. It is also possible to experience some bleeding in the mouth. Patients can also use a salt-water rinse help prevent the risk of infection.
Be sure to monitor any symptoms and follow up with the dentist if they do not improve or worsen over time. In some cases, antibiotics are needed following surgery. It is important to follow the instructions provided by the dentist following the procedure to avoid complications. Patients should eat soft, mild foods while their mouth is healing and avoid vigorous activity immediately following surgery. The recovery time can range from a few days to a week for most patients. Self-dissolving stitches are typically used for the procedure which do not require removal.
Follow up with your dentist to determine if you may be a good candidate for permanent dentures. It is critical that all patients to take their oral health seriously and practice good oral hygiene to avoid permanent issues. This includes twice daily brushing, daily flossing and regular visits to the dentist.