There’s generally a negative perception associated with the thought of having to get dentures. The idea that a lab-manufactured mouthpiece is supposed to replace the look and functionality of our teeth is not necessarily appealing. The good news is that not all dentures are created equal.
Traditional dentures rest on the surface of the gums and cover the entire mouth or a set of missing teeth.
Implant-supported dentures, on the other hand, are entirely supported by implants. This state-of-the-art procedure provides the wearer with a stable and comfortable new set of teeth, as well as a very attractive and natural-looking smile.
In order to determine if implant-supported dentures are the best option for you, it’s important to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this treatment first.
Advantages of implant-supported dentures
Implant-supported dentures are dental prosthetics that attach to implants that have previously been anchored into the jawbone via surgery. There are countless benefits to this, including:
- Improved health of the mandible and gums. Your jaw remains strong if it’s consistently stimulated by the pressure of chewing. This pressure is initiated at the root of your teeth. When a tooth is extracted, the bone reabsorbs into the body and so begins a process of bone decay. Traditional dentures contribute to bone loss as there is little stimulation coming from the roots. Implants, on the other hand, work as artificial roots that help to preserve the quality and density of the bone long-term.
- Aesthetic appeal. Not only do these dentures look identical to real teeth, but also their contribution to a strong and healthy jawbone helps maintain the facial muscles in place and prevents sunken or sagging cheeks.
- Strong structural support without the risk of dislodgment.
- High satisfaction rate. Studies show that those who have gotten implant-supported dentures report an improved quality of life and self-esteem as well as improved confidence when speaking and laughing. These dentures are firmly attached so you won’t have to worry about them slipping or having slurred speech.
- Comfortable for eating. When compared to other types of dentures, implant-supported dentures provide patients with the most effective and comfortable bite possible. They’re the closest thing to natural teeth in terms of providing you with a stronger and more evenly distributed bite force, without putting any pressure on your gums.
Unlike traditional dentures, you will not be limited to soft foods. There’s a huge relief in knowing that you’ll still have the freedom to enjoy all of your favorite foods, including the ones that are difficult to chew, like steak. These dentures don’t overlap the taste receptors on the upper palate so the taste of your food won’t be affected.
- Significant reduction of physical pain. Loose and ill-fitting dentures are known to cause many problems around the jaw and mouth, such as swollen and pinched gums, open sores, bone pain, and headaches. Since implant-supported dentures are dependent on the mandible for chewing, the gums are relieved of constant pressure and these issues should not occur.
- Psychological benefits. Emotional stress can be experienced by those who are unhappy and uncomfortable with the look and feel of traditional dentures. This emotional trigger can be significant enough to hinder someone from going out in public.
Others will go as far as completely disassociating themselves from the social life they once enjoyed to avoid shame and embarrassment. With implant-supported dentures, patients will experience the joy of a beautifully restored smile and will no longer be reminded of their tooth loss.
- Physical health benefits. Implant-supported dentures do not require the use of adhesives or dental creams, most of which contain toxic chemicals and parabens that are linked to dangerous health side effects.
- High-quality durable materials are used to make these dentures. Not only do the materials perfectly mimic the appearance and texture of naturally healthy teeth, but more importantly they are not prone to deterioration.
- Fully customizable. The size and shape of the teeth can be customized to a patient’s liking. The shade of the teeth and gums can also be adjusted to achieve the most natural look.
- Patients have the option to choose between fixed and removable implant-supported dentures. Fixed dentures are the closest thing to natural teeth because they are permanently attached to the jaw and can only be removed by a dentist.
Fixed dentures improve the patient’s overall lifestyle by eliminating the hassle of having to attach and remove their dentures daily. Patients who have sleep apnea and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can also benefit because they will be able to keep their dentures on overnight.
- Long-lasting solution with minimal hassle. Implant-supported dentures are easy to take care of and can last a lifetime. Personal health and hygiene will influence the longevity of these dental prosthetics so be sure to follow your dentist’s at-home care instructions.
Disadvantages of implant-supported dentures
- This is a surgical procedure in which all of the existing teeth must be removed (with the exception of partial dentures) in order for the titanium screws to be implanted. Four dental implants are typically needed to provide the best fit, but some patients may require more implants to ensure a stronger mandibular foundation.
- The treatment takes several months to complete. In a nutshell, this is what the procedure is like: First, the dentist will begin by removing all of the existing teeth and placing the implants into your jawbone.
You will have to wait between 3 to 6 months for the bone to heal and fuse to the implant. During this time, you will be given temporary transitional dentures. Once your jawbone has healed, extensions, or fixtures, will be attached to the implant.
This extension will surface above the gums. Once your gums have healed, the dentist will take impressions of your mouth to create your dentures based on the size of your gums. For the last phase of the treatment, your dentures will be installed and adjusted to ensure they fit properly.
- In some cases, bone and soft tissue regeneration procedures may be required for the treatment to be successful.
- Implant-supported dentures are more expensive than traditional dentures, but remember that this is a long-term investment with outstanding benefits so the lifetime value may be worth the initial cost.
To make this an affordable solution for you, Kootenai Dental Group in Coeur d’Alene will meet or beat any written quote from another office for the same materials used.
Are you a good candidate for implant-supported dentures?
An evaluation with one of our experienced cosmetic dentists is the first step to ensuring that implant-supported dentures are the best choice for you.
Schedule a consultation at Kootenai Dental Group in Coeur d’Alene, ID.
Call us today at 208-762-8750 for an appointment.
Zembic A, Wismeijer D. Patient‐reported outcomes of maxillary implant‐supported overdentures compared with conventional dentures. Clinical oral implants research. 2014 Apr;25(4):441-50. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23581398/