It doesn’t really matter how well your dentures have been fitted, the fact that they only rest on your gums and aren’t held in place by anything make them prone to shifting in your mouth. Because of this problem, some patients even give up entirely on wearing their lower dentures, as lower dentures tend to be more problematic in this regard.
If you, like many other patients, you have experienced problems with dentures that aren’t steady, getting an implant-supported denture might be a good solution for you.
How Do Implant-Supported Dentures Work?
Regular dentures don’t offer any substitute for roots whatsoever. In order to offer patients an affordable solution to this problem, dentists often make use of implant-supported dentures.
Dental implants are often used to hold dental crowns and bridges in place, but they can also be used to support dentures. Implants have to be surgically placed into the jaw so that dentures can be attached to them for extra support. Supporting dentures with dental implants prevents any movement while you talk or chew.
There are different methods to hold dentures in place using dental implants. Bar-retained dentures are held in place by making use of five implants that have a curved bar attached to them. This bar is fitted with clips for the denture to easily attach to.
Another method is by using ball-retained dentures. Using this method, the denture attaches directly to ball-shaped fittings that have been attached to each implant, the denture will usually have sockets for the balls slide into, thus holding the denture in place. This is common with all on four dental implants.
Who Should Get Implant-Supported Dentures?
Implant-supported dentures are used only on patients that don’t have any natural teeth left in either their upper or lower jaws. The procedure can be performed on patients even of they used regular, non-supported dentures in the past. Lower dentures shifting in the mouth is a common complaint, making the procedure more popular for supporting lower dentures, but this isn’t always the case.
Any patient missing all of their teeth could technically get implant-supported dentures, but your dentist will have perform tests to establish whether or not you still have enough bone tissue to support a dental implant. The density of bone tissue in your jaw is vitally important. Without enough tissue to support an implant, it’s likely to become loose. Generally, however, most patients will have enough tissue to support dental implants.
Factors that can cause bone degeneration include smoking, severe senility and diabetes. Dentists always perform bone density tests before placing implants, but if your risks are higher, then you might not have enough bone tissue left in your jaw to support implants. Your dentist will be able to suggest a list of alternatives if your jawbone density is too low.
In many cases, bone grafting procedures can be performed if a patient is willing to undergo them, although it should be noted that this can cause the process of placing dental implants to take considerably longer and be rather more expensive. Nevertheless, prosthodontists still have a high success rate in placing dental implants, even in cases where bone grafting is required.
How Long Will I Wait?
This will depend largely on your specific case, generally though, patients should know that the procedure can be tedious. It might take anywhere from a few months to even as much as a year from start to finish. During this time, you’ll regularly have to visit your prosthodontist to ensure that your implants are ready to support your denture and to have your denture properly fitted to the implants.
In most cases, the procedure for implant-supported dentures is done in two steps. The first surgery is done to insert the implants in your jaw. After this initial procedure, the implants won’t be exposed and will still be completely hidden under your gums. The second surgery is done to expose the implants so your dentures will be able to attach to them. It might be possible for your prosthodontist to perform the procedure in one visit, placing your implants and the bar that will support your dentures all at once.
Having implant-supported dentures can significantly improve your quality of life. Not only will you be able to smile without worrying that your teeth might fall out, having implants is also proven to stimulate bone growth. While wearing regular dentures does nothing to reduce bone loss, getting dental implants will keep your facial structure looking younger for longer.