Permanent Dentures

As an adult, tooth loss can be devastating to your self-esteem and quality of life. Patients that need dentures often think that there is only one option available but a stabilized denture is a secure and beautiful way to replace the number of missing teeth. A permanent denture is an implant supported dental prosthesis that is permanently fixed into place and is much more comfortable and natural looking for the patient. Most often, implant supported dentures use between four and eight implants per arch to secure the denture in place. A traditional denture relies on adhesion, suction, and retention to stay in place. Without the security of an implant, a traditional denture is much more likely to be ill fitting and to slip around in the patient's mouth.

Advantages of a Permanent Denture

Not everyone is a candidate for dental implants and for those who are not, a traditional denture is still a great option to replace a mouth full of teeth. For those who can endure implant placement surgery, an implant supported denture has a number of advantages.

A permanent denture is significantly more comfortable than a traditional denture. Since they are screwed down onto implants, the denture cannot slip around and is always secure. One major disadvantage to a traditional denture is deteriorating bone health. The jawbone relies on tooth roots for stimulation to continually regenerate but when the patient does not have natural teeth and uses a traditional denture, the bone is not stimulated because the denture sits on top of the gum tissue. This bone loss can lead to an ill-fitting denture that is not only uncomfortable to wear but it can cause irritation and mouth sores on the gums beneath the denture, making it incredibly uncomfortable and possibly even painful to wear. It is not uncommon for a patient to simply stop wearing an uncomfortable denture at which point they miss out on a lot and their quality of life takes a hit.

Dental implants are essentially artificial tooth roots and work the same way to stimulate bone regeneration. This alone gives permanent dentures a big advantage in supporting overall health.

Along with the benefits of comfort, stability, and bone health, the aesthetics achieved by a permanent denture and the longevity of the denture are much higher than that of any other dental prosthesis. An implant supported denture is significantly more expensive than other traditional options but in the long run, they may be the more cost-effective choice for some patients because they are so stable and durable, they really need to be replaced.

Since traditional tooth replacement restorations contribute to bone deterioration, they do not last as long and need to be replaced every 10 years or so. As the bone shrinks, it changes the way everything fits and can even change the appearance of your face. Dental implants are considered a permanent restoration and can last 20 years to a lifetime. To get the most bang for your buck, it is important to clean and maintain your dental implants properly and visit your dentist for professional cleanings more frequently than twice a year. There may come a time that the denture itself needs to be repaired or replaced due to natural wear but the better job you do keeping the denture clean and well maintained, the longer it will last.

Procedure for Permanent Dentures Placement

Your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon or periodontist for an evaluation to see if you are a candidate for dental implants. A number of things will come into play during their evaluation of your mouth including your medical history, lifestyle habits, and any medication that you are currently taking or have been on in the past. Patients that have endured chemotherapy may need preparatory surgeries to make sure their implants are successful. It is important for the patient to have a sufficient gum tissue and bone structure for the implant to integrate and maintain support. If necessary, a bone and/or gum graft can be placed before the implant. This will add a couple months of healing time before the implant can be placed.

Implant placement surgery is performed under local anesthesia that is administered via injection to the areas receiving an implant. A small incision is made in the gum tissue to give your doctor clear access to the jaw bone. They will then drill a small hole directly into the bone and insert the implant. The gum tissue is then stitched up around the implant, leaving a small portion protruding through the gum tissue. A healing cap, or temporary abutment, is placed over the implants to protect them from damage and infection while you heal.

The implants are left to heal and integrate with the jaw bone for up to 6 months, during which you will wear a temporary denture. The temporary will help you become accustomed to your new smile and bite before your permanent denture is placed.

It is normal to experience mild discomfort for a few days after implant surgery but it should subside within a week or two. You may also notice slight bruising and swelling of your face and gum tissue, even minor bleeding or soreness at the implant sites. These are all common side effects of implant surgery and should subside within a few days. Any symptoms that persist or do not improve after a few days, or become unbearable should be addressed by your doctor as soon as possible to make sure that you are not developing an infection, which could lead to implant failure.

Am I a candidate for a permanent denture?

While dental implants for permanent dentures are one of the best options available, unfortunately not everyone is a candidate. For patients who are otherwise healthy and are able to endure the surgery and the extensive healing time, an implant supported dentures is a wonderful choice. Patients with pre-existing conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes or osteoporosis may need to consider other options but that does not necessarily mean that these patients cannot have dental implants.

Before you begin any treatment, it is important to discuss your goals and ask any questions you may have with your dentist as well as your implant specialist. Make sure that you proceed with the treatment that will be best for you and your lifestyle.

Replacing Bone For Dental Implants

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