More than 36 million Americans don’t have any teeth. And 120 million are missing at least one tooth. (American College of Prosthodontists) 90% of men and women without teeth wear dentures. Are you one of them?
Dentures aren’t the ideal tooth replacement
If so, how are your dentures working for you? Do they slip around in your mouth? Are they uncomfortable? If so, it may be time for a reline. Dentures need to be relined once in a while so they fit right. The reason for this is because of bone loss and gum shrinkage. Think about that for a minute. Bone loss?!! Gum shrinkage?!!
Let’s discuss it.
What causes bone loss?
To remain strong and vital, your jaw bone needs to be continually stimulated by the pressure of chewing, biting, and talking. Each tooth has a root structure that extends into the surrounding bone material. As each tooth absorbs the forces of everyday mouth function, it stimulates blood flow in the bone surrounding the root.
In other words, your jaw bone has an important job to do, but can diminish if it’s no longer needed.
Consider the following for a minute. When tooth roots are gone, your jaw bone starts shrinking. And what happens when the underlying structure shrinks? The outer structure changes as well. Eventually, the shape of your face will change.
Bone loss isn’t unavoidable
Before you resign yourself to a diminishing jaw bone and eventual hollowed-out cheeks, consider a better option. We’re talking about implant secured dentures.
What are implant secured dentures?
A dental implant is a replacement for a tooth that includes the tooth root and the visible part of the tooth. A single implant would have an abutment (connector piece) with a crown affixed. With implant anchored dentures, the denture composes the visible part of multiple teeth connected to a fewer number of implants. In other words, instead of 1 post + 1 crown for each tooth, you may have all-in-4 which means one complete arch anchored to 4 posts.
Dentures secured by implants are held in place with permanent metal screws or posts–the root replacement part of the implant.
Permanent dental implants can be used in many different ways. For example, an implant can replace one missing tooth. Or, an implant attached to a dental bridge can replace two or three missing teeth.
In this article, however, we will first describe how implants can serve as a sturdy base for securing a denture to either the upper or lower arch.
How are the implants inserted?
Dental implant placement works like this: first, the posts are surgically anchored into the jaw bone. Though “oral surgery” might sound extensive, implant placement is an outpatient procedure at your dentist’s office. For most patients, it doesn’t take much longer than filling a cavity. As with other procedures, your dentist will employ a numbing agent so you will feel minimal pain.
The next part of the process is critical, although the patient doesn’t have to do anything except practice good oral hygiene. In the months after implant surgery, the post integrates with the jaw bone. This biological process is called osseointegration. Your jaw bone meshes to the post as if it was a natural tooth root.
Remember what we discussed earlier? The jaw bone stays healthy when stimulated by tooth roots. Your jaw bone works with artificial tooth roots similarly to natural tooth roots. This is what can prevent bone recession! (When you see ads that say dental implants are truly revolutionary, it’s not hyperbole.)
Custom dentures anchored to the implants
Once the implant has securely meshed with the jaw bone, the dental implant recipient receives a final fitment for their new implant-secured dentures. Just as with any restoration at Decatur Smiles, implant-anchored dentures are custom-fit and designed to blend perfectly with remaining teeth. If you don’t have any natural teeth, you will choose the appropriate color with the guidance of doctor Teichmiller.
Am I a good candidate for implant dentures?
When thinking about whether to get implant secured dentures, conventional dentures, or some other restoration option, the number of missing teeth affects your specific treatment. If you have experienced extensive tooth loss but still have healthy, bone then implant dentures might work for you.
Implants bonded to a dental bridge
People with three or four adjacent missing teeth may consider two implants bonded to a dental bridge. This configuration is similar to dentures secured by but the bridge covers less gum tissue at the location.
Implant-anchored dentures can change your life
Modern dental implant procedures, state-of-the-art materials, and the competence of dentists such as doctor Stephanie Teichmiller, combine to create truly sensational smiles.