Dental Implants Existing Partial

Combining dental implants with existing partial dentures can be an effective, affordable way to stabilize the denture and keep it from slipping as the bone density changes. Removable dentures are designed to rest on the gums and are usually held in place with denture adhesive, but as the bone deteriorates over time, which happens when there aren’t tooth roots there to stimulate its growth, the denture will become ill-fitting and could interfere with a person’s ability to eat and chew, speak, and even smile. Using implants to stabilize a denture can increase the functionality of a denture, and the implants themselves help stimulate bone growth, which helps maintain the fit and comfort of the denture. With an implant-retained denture, patients can eat a balanced diet, speak clearly, and smile confidently, and sometimes, an existing denture can be retrofitted to accommodate dental implants. Traditional dental implant therapy can be prohibitively costly, and combining an existing denture with implants reduces this cost significantly. When an existing denture can’t be retrofitted, it’s still more affordable to use dental implants to support a denture, rather than using individual implants to support individual dental crowns. Thanks to constant advances in dental technology, it’s becoming more and more common to use as few as two or four dental implants to support an entire row of teeth, and advances like these can help patients strike a balance that suits their clinical needs as well as their budgets and preferences.

A denture is designed to replace two or more missing teeth in a row. A partial denture replaces just a few teeth, and a full denture replaces all the teeth in the upper or lower jaw. Partial dentures are supported by a framework that fits between the natural teeth and uses them for support. These are similar to dental bridges, which also use adjacent teeth for support, but partial dentures are removable and dental bridges are not, and dental bridges rely on dental crowns placed on the adjacent teeth to provide this stability and durability. Full dentures that replace the upper row of teeth use an acrylic base that fits into the palate to hold them in place, and lower dentures also use an acrylic base, only this one is arc-shaped and has room for the tongue.

Dental implants are one of the most popular options for people who want to replace missing teeth. The dental implant itself is a tiny fixture made of biocompatible material that is surgically implanted into the jawbone underneath the gum tissue, in the spot where a tooth root once lived. Because of the characteristics of the implant material, usually titanium, bone tissue is attracted to the implant, and, as the bone heals around the implant, it fuses the implant into place. In turn, the implant stimulates the growth of healthy bone, which helps make dental implants the long-term solution they’re designed to be. The healing process can take a few months, but most implant recipients consider this time investment a small price to pay for the many benefits dental implants can confer.

Once the dental implant sites have fully healed, the implants can be used to support individual dental crowns, which are lifelike prosthetic teeth usually made of porcelain, and they can also be used to support multiple artificial teeth in a row or even full dentures. Implant-retained dentures are especially beneficial when used to replace the lower row of teeth, which are more difficult to stabilize when the denture is removable, though these types of dentures are effective for both the upper and lower jaw. When used to support multiple teeth, when possible, dental implants will be placed closer to the front of the mouth than the back, where the bone is more substantial and more available for implants. Sometimes, when the amount of available healthy bone is sufficient and in the right clinical conditions, as few as two well-placed dental implants can stabilize an entire row of teeth.

Dental implants aren’t an immediate option for every patient, but for patients who are willing to undergo additional treatments and procedures, they can often be a possibility within a few years, if not sooner. If you have a medical condition that affects your healing ability, like diabetes, you’ll work with your primary care doctor to make sure the condition is well-managed; implants can’t be safely placed in patients with active inflammatory conditions, which increase the risk of implant failure. When gum disease is present, it will be treated before implants are placed, and patients are evaluated to determine their investment in continued maintenance of the oral health. For example, smoking is known to have significantly deleterious effects on the health of the gums and teeth, and smokers may not qualify for dental implants unless they demonstrate the ability to refrain from smoking for the duration of the implant healing timeline. If advanced gum disease is present and has led to substantial bone loss, bone graft treatment or other bone rehabilitation may be necessary before implants can be inserted, though in many cases, skilled oral surgeons are able to place implants strategically in existing available bone. This is especially likely when implants are being used to retain dentures, since fewer implants are required.

You and your dentist can determine what type of dental restoration is the best option for you. When you choose implant-retained dentures, you can customize your procedure with your dentist, taking into consideration your specific clinical needs, your budget, your desired timeline, and any other preferences you may have. If it is possible to do so, an existing denture will be affixed to dental implants once they have fully healed. If the existing denture can’t be modified for whatever reason, or if you’d just rather have a new denture, custom dentures will be made based on molds of your mouth. At your consultation appointment, your dentist can assess your denture and determine whether it can be used with dental implants. You’ll also have a thorough dental examination, including x-rays or other imaging, and your dentist will review your medical history and discuss possible auxiliary treatments or therapies to include in your overall treatment plan.

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