What Are Implant Retained Dentures?
It is quite common for people to be missing most of their teeth in one or both arches. Traditional dentures, which rest on the gums, may fit well initially but over time, will become loose and poorly-fitting as the jawbone and gums change shape.
These structural changes are inevitable after natural teeth are lost or extracted because the bony ridge that supported the teeth gradually resorbs due to lack of stimulation from the tooth roots. Concurrently, this bony ridge that held the teeth in place will become narrower and flatter, making it more difficult to wear dentures comfortably and providing reduced support for the facial muscles. This can lead to the collapsed-in appearance commonly associated with people that wear partial or full dentures.
Poor-fitting dentures are not comfortable and could prevent the patient from consuming the foods they normally enjoy. Worrying about their dentures moving or affecting speech, could prevent the patient from confidently participating in social events. Fortunately, implant-retained dentures offer an alternative to traditional dentures that many patients find preferable.
What are Implant-Retained Dentures?
Whereas traditional dentures simply rest on the patient’s gums, implant-retained dentures snap or clip to dental implants, remaining firmly in place. This cost-effective treatment creates stable, strong teeth that can restore the patient’s ability to comfortably, and confidently, talk and eat.
Dental implants are first surgically imbedded into the patient’s gumline and serve as the “roots” upon which the dentures will be mounted. Generally, two to four dental implants are needed to secure in place a lower denture. Because of their sole reliance on the bony ridge for retention and support, lower dentures tend to be more problematic.
More dental implants for are required for support when restoring an upper denture but there is a desirable byproduct. Just like an implant-retained lower denture, an upper denture is horseshoe-shaped to feel less bulky and leaves the upper palate uncovered. In addition to being more comfortable, leaving the upper palate uncovered reveals more taste buds which allows the patient to better taste food.
Why Get Implant-Retained Dentures?
With the knowledge that their dentures are securely held in place by dental implants, patients with implant-retained dentures can enjoy their choice of foods and feel confident in social situations knowing their implant-retained teeth will not move. Because the dentures provide adequate support for the cheeks and lips, the patient’s facial dimensions can be restored and appearance rejuvenated. Patients that previously wore traditional dentures, often notice a significant cosmetic improvement to their appearance after switching to implant-retained dentures.
Are Implant-Retained Dentures Right for You?
Dental implants are suitable for most people. Because they maximize the available bone in the patient’s jaw, reducing the potential need for bone grafts, implants are particularly beneficial to those who lost teeth a long time ago. Age is generally not prohibitive as long as the patient has reasonably sound dental and overall health. Given their benefits over traditional dentures, implant-retained dentures can offer patients a great alternative to restoring comfort, confidence, and appearances so consultation with a dentist is recommended to determine if the treatment is appropriate.