Dental Implants Existing Partial
Dental implants are one of the most stable ways to restore missing teeth. For patients who need a full or partial denture, using dental implants to secure them in place give the patient an increased sense of confidence and comfort. A traditional denture is designed to fit over the gum tissue and bone but over time, the bone begins to deteriorate leaving the denture little to hold onto and making it uncomfortable for the patient. Dental implants used to retain a denture provide a higher degree of functionality and fit.
A denture is a custom made dental prosthesis that is designed specifically for you using a model of your mouth. A partial denture replaces a few teeth in one area of the mouth and a full denture replaces an entire arch on one or both arches. A full upper denture fits over the entire roof of the mouth and a lower denture is horseshoe-shaped to accommodate for the tongue. A traditional full or partial denture is removable.
How does a dental implant work with a denture?
A dental implant is a titanium screw that is surgically placed directly into the jawbone to create an artificial tooth route. Over a healing period of up to six months, the implant integrates with the jaw bone, called osseointegration, to form a strong fusion for a stable foundation for the implant crown or denture. An implant can be used to replace one tooth with an individual implant crown all the way up to an entire arch of teeth with an implant supported denture. For patients who need a permanent denture, 4 to 8 dental implants are placed in the jawbone of one or both arches and the denture is screwed into place over the implants.
A permanent denture is a much more stable and secure way for patients to restore their smile. Patients that wear a traditional denture often have trouble with fit and retention. A traditional denture is held in place with suction and adhesion but that can still allow the denture to slip out of place. An implant retained denture cannot slip around in the patient's mouth as it is screwed into place.
Traditional Denture vs Implant Retained Denture
One of the biggest problems denture wearers face is a lack of stability. A traditional denture can be challenging for the patient to keep in place without using some form of denture adhesive. Each additional denture rests on top of the gums and even with denture adhesives, can become loose or slip out of place. When a patient chooses to enlist the assistance of dental implants to hold their denture in place, they usually have an easier time speaking and eating. Even hygiene is easier since they are no longer using adhesive. An implant supported denture can be removable or fixed, both are more stable and secure than a traditional denture.
Additional advantages to implant retained dentures include:
- Improved functionality: Dental implants are the closest to a natural tooth that a dental restoration can be. An implant retained denture allows the patient to have confidence and comfort while eating and speaking.
- Improved oral health: When natural teeth are lost, the surrounding bone no longer needs to support them so your body begins to resorb the bone. This bone degeneration can significantly affect the facial appearance and cause a traditional denture ill-fitting and uncomfortable. Dental implants help stimulate bone regeneration and prevent deterioration to ensure the structural integrity of the jaw and the implant. Prolonged use of a poorly fitting denture can cause further bone loss and the denture will need to be realigned or simply replaced.
- Permanence: An implant retained denture is considered a permanent dental restoration even though it can be removed by the patient, in the case of a snap in denture, for care and maintenance. A permanent implant retained denture is one that is permanently screwed down and cannot be removed by the patient.
- Cost effective: An implant supported denture may be much more costly at the onset but the implant placement surgery is typically a one time expense as dental implants can easily last a lifetime. Traditional dentures and bridges need to be replaced as the bone deteriorates and the structure of the face changes. Each additional denture may last up to 10 years before needing to be replaced but an implant denture can easily last up to 20 years. The less frequent replacement for an implant retained denture often makes them more cost-effective for some patients.
- Enhanced self-confidence: using dental implants to support a denture improves both the functionality and the aesthetics for the patient. An implant supported denture helps enhance your facial appearance while enabling good nutrition as you are able to bite and chew normally. An implant supported denture can restore your smile and your self-esteem while giving you the eating and speaking functions that may have been lost with a traditional denture.
Dental implants have a success rate between 95% and 97% and can easily last a lifetime. An implant supported denture should be taken out daily for cleaning and at night before you go to sleep, unless your denture was designed to be permanently fixed in place. In order to maintain healthy gum tissue, it is important to make sure you clean your gums with your toothbrush even if your denture is permanently fixed in place. A lot of patients find that a WaterPik is very helpful for cleaning under their fixed denture.
Not everyone is a candidate for dental implants so it is important to discuss all of your options with your dentist. Your dentist can perform an examination to determine if they think that you are a candidate for implants. If they believe you are, they will refer you to an oral surgeon or periodontist for further evaluation. One of the specialists is the doctor that will place your actual implant before your dentist places your restoration on the implant. Patients who have sufficient bone structure and are overall healthy may be an ideal candidate for dental implants. Speak with your dentist to see what options are available to you and discuss if you would like to incorporate dental implants with your existing denture.