If you have lost some or all of your natural teeth, implant supported dentures provide an option for restoring your teeth and your smile in a way that looks and feels like your natural teeth. While similar to traditional dentures in that they replace most or all of the teeth with one device, implant supported dentures offer numerous benefits that make them the preferred choice for many patients.
What are Implant Supported Dentures?
Implant supported dentures are full or partial dentures that are held in place by four or more dental implants. Implant supported dentures can also be called an implant bridge or hybrid denture.
The implants are embedded in the jawbone, providing a secure base to hold the denture in place. This makes implant supported dentures stronger, more secure, and more comfortable than traditional dentures.
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How Do Implant Supported Dentures Work?
If your dentist decides that you are a good candidate for implant supported dentures, they will draw up a treatment plan based on your individual needs. The implant procedure may involve several steps and can take up to several months. But more often, these cases are being completed in a single visit with a temporary implant supported denture. The final restoration is completed following the healing of the gums and bone to produce a more uniform fit.
Some patients may need to have a tooth or multiple teeth extracted before placing their dental implants. If you require extractions, your dentist will either perform the extractions during a first surgery and allow the area to heal or place the dental implants immediately following the extractions at the same surgery. In the past, delayed implant placement was preferred, but now with modern technology and many years of research, the immediate implant placement is preferred due to documented success and patient satisfaction.
Implant Supported Denture Procedure
Teeth are extracted if indicated, dental implants are placed in the jaw in strategic locations to support a full arch of teeth in an implant supported denture. The lower jaw general has abundant bone located in the front of the mouth near the chin and can accommodate 4 to 5 dental implants. These 4 to 5 dental implants can support a lower implant denture with teeth extending to the first molar. If more bone is available, it may be prudent to consider additional implants in the molar region. The upper jaw can also be treated with as little as 4 implants supporting a full arch implant denture. While 4 may work in many cases, 6-8 dental implants may be indicated to better support an implant supported denture in certain patients. depending on a number of factors the dental implants will be placed in a separate surgery.
A number of factors should be considered when determining the appropriate number of dental implants per arch. It’s generally wise to consider some additional implants in the case of one or two failures. Four dental implants is usually adequate but 3 dental implants most likely is unacceptable for a full arch implant denture. Therefore, it is wise to plan one or two additional implants and that way you have a safety net in the case of a failure. So, to reiterate the options, the number of dental implants used will depend on your individual situation. Many patients can use an All-on-4 treatment, which uses a denture fixed to four implants in the jaw. Patients who need full dentures may require an All-on-6 treatment, in which six dental implants are placed. When 6-8 implants are used and one or even two implants fails, there is usually no effect on the final restorative plan. It’s a case by case, patient by patient decision.
After the implants are placed, the incision is closed with stitches, and the implants are allowed to heal for a few months. If the implants are successful, they will undergo a process called osseointegration, in which the implant fuses with the jawbone. This will provide a secure base for the denture.
What are the Benefits of Implant Supported Dentures?
Implant supported dentures provide patients with more stability and greater self-confidence when eating or speaking in public. Because they are secured, they will not slip out of place or become dislodged. This helps patients avoid embarrassing issues that can make wearers of traditional dentures feel self-conscious. It also allows patients to eat a wider variety of foods that often aren’t possible with traditional dentures. More importantly, implant dentures do not cover the roof of your mouth and this makes food taste much better. The open palate also improves speech and is much more comfortable.
Implant supported dentures are far more comfortable than traditional dentures. They are designed to look and function just like natural teeth. Because the implants are secured in place, they do not rub against the gums like traditional dentures, which can cause gum pain or discomfort.
The use of dental implants helps preserve the jawbone and keep it strong by excersizing the bone with the functions of speech and chewing. When teeth are missing, the surrounding bone tends to weaken and erode, which can lead to the loss of additional teeth and change the shape of the mouth over time.
How are Implant Supported Dentures Better than Traditional Dentures?
Cleaning implant supported dentures is much easier than with traditional dentures, as they do not need to be removed and soaked overnight. Care for implant supported dentures consists of brushing them just like regular teeth and scheduling regular dental checkups.
Food can also become stuck underneath traditional dentures, a problem that is diminished with implant supported dentures. Keep in mind, the implant supported dentures still require a diligent cleaning protocol that is generally easier and more much more patient friendly.
Many patients who opt for implant supported dentures find that they feel more confident around others and are happier with the appearance of their smile.
Conventional dentures do not stimulate the jawbone in the way that dental implants do. When the bone erodes and shrinks, the shape of the mouth changes. This means that the fit of conventional dentures can change over time, causing discomfort and sore spots. The fit of the denture may need to be adjusted over time.
Implant supported dentures can also promote greater overall health and wellness. Because they make it easier to eat certain foods, they allow you to eat a more well-rounded diet.
How Do They Compare to Dental Implants?
Dental implants and implant supported dentures use the same type of treatment. Both lead to osseointegration of the jaw bone, creating a secure tooth replacement option that preserves the surrounding bone. While individual dental implants are often used for patients requiring one or a few replacement teeth, implant supported dentures are typically recommended for patients who need a full arch of teeth or long span replacement of missing teeth such as would be replaced by a partial denture.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Implants
How much do implant supported dentures cost?
Everyone’s dental treatment plan varies depending on their individual needs. The cost for your dental plan may depend on several factors, such as whether you need any teeth extracted before placing your implants. We will work with you to determine the best course of treatment for your needs and your budget. If you have dental insurance, we will explain your dental benefits prior to beginning any work so that you are completely educated about your benefits. Dental benefits or dental insurance can be very misleading, we want you to understand the pros and cons of your plan but most importantly, we want you to have the best dental outcome relative to your needs.
How long do implant supported dentures last?
Implant supported dentures are designed to be permanent. If the implants fuse successfully with the jawbone, they will provide a strong and permanent base for the dentures. This may very well be a lifetime, but consider the wear and tear your teeth go through, you may require replacement work in 10-15 years at worst. It really depends on how well you treat your teeth. Do you care for them daily and with professional cleanings often?
Are implant supported dentures permanent?
Yes, implant supported dentures are designed to be a permanent tooth replacement solution. It is wise to invest in a couple of extra implants to support your implant denture if adequate bone is available. It’s nice to have an extra implant to fall back on in the case of a rare failure!
What is the recovery time for dental implants?
Implants take between three and six months to heal once they have been put in place.
Sarasota Dentistry offers top-quality dental implants and implant supported dentures. Whether you are missing all or several of your teeth, require extractions, or have other dental needs, Dr. Hank Michael and his expert dental team at Sarasota Dentistry can help. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
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