Conventional dentures are one of the most popular tooth replacement treatment options. This popularity is in part due to their ability to replace many missing teeth quickly and affordably. However, a recent study reported that over half of denture wearers feel their dentures limits their professional life and diet and reduce their confidence. Fortunately for these individuals, there are other treatment solutions for missing teeth. Permanent dentures are a tooth replacement treatment that offer a more permanent solution to missing teeth. Below is more information on how permanent dentures work and benefits of the treatment that should be considered.
What are Permanent Dentures?
Permanent dentures, also called implant-supported dentures, are dentures that attach to implants securely placed in the jawbone. What makes permanent dentures different than conventional dentures is that they are not removable and remain securely fixed in the mouth. This secure attachment offers patients with a tooth replacement treatment that feels like natural teeth. Designed to improve the fit and comfort of conventional dentures, permanent dentures do not shift and slide around in the mouth, improving comfort, restoring function, and improving speaking and eating ability.
Who is a Good Candidate for Permanent Dentures?
The best candidates for permanent dentures are patients who are in good physical health with healthy jawbones. This is in part due to the permanent dentures relying on the dental implants to securely fuse with the jawbone after their placement. Permanent dentures are a great treatment option for patients who are missing many teeth. Additionally, in order for patients to maintain their permanent dentures and their oral health, it is important they are committed to good oral hygiene habits.
Benefits of Permanent Dentures
Permanent dentures were designed to solve many of the common problems reported by patients with conventional dentures. There are many benefits of the treatment solution that should be considered when patients are trying to decide which tooth replacement option is right for them. The design of conventional dentures has remained unchanged for decades and permanent dentures offer patients a much improved and up-to-date design. Here are a few of the advantages of the permanent denture design:
- Reduced pain and irritation: Patients with conventional dentures regularly report pain and discomfort that is caused by their dentures not fitting well. Dentures that do not fit well slip and shift in the mouth during everyday tasks, causing irritation and rubbing that eventually can create painful sores.
- No dangerous ingredients: Many patients with conventional dentures use adhesive gel or paste to help hold the dentures in place. Sometimes these adhesives include ingredients that may be dangerous, such as too much zinc.
- Maintaining face shape: The dental implants that are surgically placed in the jawbone to attach the permanent dentures to have many benefits of their own. For example, dental implants stimulate bone health in the jaw and help to reduce the changing shape of the jaw and face. When teeth are missing, it is common for the jaw and face to change shape overtime. With the implants taking up space in the jaw, permanent dentures help maintain the shape of the face.
- Improved eating abilities and more eating enjoyment: With conventional dentures many patients eliminate foods that are hard to eat from their diet. With permanent dentures patients can return to eating any foods they want. Chewing is also easier with permanent dentures.
The Permanent Denture Treatment Procedures
The permanent denture treatment will take several procedures, and commonly includes the following steps:
- Step 1: First, damaged teeth will need to be removed to prepare the jawbone for dental implants. For some patients, bone grafting may also be needed at this point.
- Step 2: Next, the dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone. Before the surgery, a local anesthetic may be given to minimize discomfort.
- Step 3: After the several month healing period when the implants fuse with the jawbone, the permanent dentures can be fit on top of the implants.
Preparing a Treatment Plan
Before they develop a treatment plan, dental providers will want to conduct a full dental exam, discuss overall health history, confirm the health of the jawbones, and take impressions of the mouth. The dental providers will also want to make sure the patient is fully prepared for the several procedures involved in the permanent denture treatment process, including the important steps to take before each procedure, planning for necessary rest, and setting up a safe ride home.
Planning for Post-procedure Recovery
The provider will also make sure the patient is prepared for the post-procedure recovery period. After oral surgery it is common to experience swelling and bruising in the face, minor bleeding in the mouth, and some soreness and pain.
To help with discomfort after surgery patients are often encouraged to take over-the-counter pain medications and use cold compresses. Patients are often also encouraged to rinse the mouth with salt water to help prevent infection. If post-procedure symptoms last for more than a few days and appear to be getting worse, it is recommended that patients contact their dentist for a quick check-in. After any dental procedures, providers recommend eating soft foods and avoiding hot or cold food or beverages for a few days while the mouth is tender.
Deciding on Permanent Dentures
If you have conventional dentures or are about to get dentures for the first time, you should consider investing in a more permanent solution. By design, permanent dentures solve many of the common frustrations reported by patients with conventional dentures. There are many factors to consider when deciding if permanent dentures are right for you. Initially, permanent dentures will require a larger investment of money and time. Overall, the permanent denture treatment process will take several months to a year. Additionally, each dental implant that is needed in the treatment plan will increase the total costs. However, the total cost of conventional dentures can continue to increase overtime with continuous refitting and maintenance. If you think permanent dentures may be the right treatment solution for you, you should have a conversation with your dentist.