5 Things to Know About Implant-Supported Dentures and How They Work
The Unique Benefits of Implant-Supported Dentures
If either you or someone you know needs to replace missing teeth, you’re likely filtering through all the tooth replacement options out there to try to find the best one. After all, when you’re faced with an important decision like this, knowing your options allows you to choose the treatment that fits your needs and wants best.
Implant-supported dentures are one of the treatments you’ve likely seen mentioned over and over again as the best option for replacing one or both full arches of missing teeth. But what are implant-supported dentures, how do they work, and what sets them apart from other tooth replacement options?
We know how difficult it can be to sort through all of the information on treatment options, so we’ve put together the 5 things you need to know about implant-supported dentures.
1. What are implant-supported dentures and how do they work?
Implant-supported dentures are exactly what they sound like—dentures that are supported by between four and six dental implants. These dental implants are titanium metal rods that are embedded directly into your jaw to replace your missing tooth roots.
Since titanium is biocompatible, it actually encourages the bone of your jaw to grow around it in a process called osseointegration. This makes the implants even more secure, just like your natural tooth roots. Your new set of prosthetic teeth is then firmly secured on top of these implants, which lend them the same strength and deep-rooted stability that you get from natural teeth.
The implants’ placement in your jaw also allows them to fulfill the role of your natural tooth roots, giving your jawbone the constant stimulation that it needs as you chew to protect it from the bone loss that usually results from losing teeth. When you’re missing one or both arches of your teeth, this is particularly important for maintaining the strength of your jawbone and the shape of your face in the long term.
As a result, implant-supported dentures’ unique placement in your jaws allows them to work like no other tooth replacement option does, providing unmatched strength, security, and long-term protection for your oral health.
2. What do they look like?
Just like other tooth replacement options, implant-supported dentures are designed specifically for you. You can provide input on what you want your new smile to look like, including the size, shape, and shade of your new teeth. This customizability, the fact that the dentures are attached to implants, and the high-quality materials used to create your new teeth all work together to ensure that they look natural. No one will even realize that your implant-supported dentures aren’t your natural teeth!
3. How do implant-supported dentures compare to other dental implants and traditional dentures?
In many ways, implant-supported dentures are just like other dental implants. They’re embedded directly into your jaw in the same way, which means that they provide the same benefits as other dental implants.
There are differences between implant-supported dentures and traditional dentures though. The two tooth replacement options have the same goal of restoring the function and appearance of one or both arches of missing teeth and both consist of a full set of prosthetic teeth, but the way each goes about its goal is different.
Instead of relying on implants to hold them securely in place, traditional dentures rest directly over your gums and use a combination of a secure, custom-made fit and suction to stay in place. Traditional dentures simply can’t protect your jaw from bone loss over time like implant-supported dentures do, however, and your dentures will begin feeling loose as you lose bone in your jaw. As a result, traditional dentures need to be evaluated yearly to see if they need to be adjusted to fit better.
Additionally, while traditional dentures make it much easier to eat than before you had dentures, their placement on your gums means that the bite force you’re able to produce with them is significantly less than what you can achieve with implant-supported dentures. In contrast, implant-supported dentures protect your jawbone health while giving you strength and stability. This also means that they feel much more natural, making them the next best thing to regaining your natural teeth.
4. Why do people like implant-supported dentures?
People love implant-supported dentures because of their many benefits, from strength and security to the protection of your jawbone health. Since they have the strength and stability to function just like natural teeth, implant-supported dentures give you the freedom to eat whatever you want, including foods like steak and corn on the cob that would be difficult or impossible to eat with traditional dentures. This also makes it easier to eat a healthier, more varied diet—which helps you stay healthier in the long run in addition to helping you enjoy your meals more.
They also give you the peace of mind that comes with never having to worry about your dentures falling out when you’re eating or speaking. Plus, you don’t have to worry about making yearly adjustments to your dentures, and the prosthetics themselves usually last longer than traditional dentures do. There’s also the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your jawbone health—and, as a result, your face shape—is being protected.
Put simply, implant-supported dentures are the closest you can get to turning back the clock and regaining your original missing teeth. This natural feeling and worry-free nature allow you to go about your daily life just as you usually would, and it’s this that makes implant-supported dentures so popular.
5. Who is a good candidate for implant-supported dentures?
Just like other types of implants, you need to have enough bone density in your jaw to support your new implants in order to be a good candidate for implant-supported dentures. If you don’t have enough bone density in your jaw, you may still be able to get implant-supported dentures if you get a bone graft first, but this does add a procedure and extra time to the treatment process.
You also need to have good oral health before you undergo your implant procedure, which means you may need treatments for gum disease or cavities before your dentist can begin the process of implant-supported dentures, but this is usually very simple and shouldn’t keep you from getting them once your oral health is in good shape!
Since getting implant-supported dentures requires a series of surgical procedures, it’s also important to keep in mind how well you heal. Certain health conditions that cause you to heal slowly or leave you susceptible to infection might mean you’re not the best candidate for dental implants. Smoking can likewise slow your ability to heal and leave you more vulnerable to infections, so the best candidates for implants are nonsmokers.
These factors don’t mean you absolutely can’t get implant-supported dentures, but they’re something you should take into consideration and speak to your dentist and your doctor about. Generally, though, most people who have good oral health and a healthy amount of bone density in their jaws are candidates for implant-supported dentures. The best way to know if this—or any—treatment is right for you is to get in touch with your dentist for a consultation.
Davis Family Dental Care is your partner in oral health.
As you learn more about implant-supported dentures, it’s easy to see why they’re so often mentioned as the best tooth replacement option out there for replacing an arch of missing teeth. They provide unique benefits that no other tooth replacement option provides, allowing you to enjoy the freedom and peace of mind you once enjoyed before you lost your teeth. If you’d like to learn more about them or would like to begin the process of seeing if they’re right for you, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with your dentist today!