How implants can make a new life for people with dentures | TahoeDailyTribune.com

How implants can make a new life for people with dentures

We often have patients come to us after learning their existing teeth are so bad they all need to come out. These patients understandably have a lot of concerns about changes in their looks, the social stigma, and how they can enjoy foods again.

I share that they are not alone, in fact, statistics show that almost 70 percent of adults between the age of 35 to 44 years in the United States have at least one missing tooth and 36 million Americans are missing all of their teeth.

This means that a large portion of the middle-aged U. S. population is suffering from the effects of missing teeth such as loss of enjoyment of food, avoiding social situations, and loss of self-esteem.

Though dentures, or false teeth, have been the tooth replacement choice for years, the great advancements in dental implant technology now provide more options, benefits, and an overall increase of quality of life for those who currently wear dentures.

What Are Conventional Dentures?

A conventional denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and the surrounding tissues often made from gum and tooth-colored acrylic.

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Often called "false teeth," there are two types of conventional dentures available: complete dentures and partial dentures. Complete dentures are made to replace all missing teeth while partial dentures are created when some natural teeth remain.

While dentures have been successfully replaced teeth for two hundred years, they do have their downfalls, such as falling out at inopportune times and change or loss of taste due to covering the entire palate.

There Are Options Beyond Dentures:

Many people have been told by their dentist that none of their teeth are salvageable and have been directed to use dentures as the only solution to replace missing teeth. However, there are a number of alternatives now available along with a range of procedures, benefits, and prices that give former denture-wearers more options by incorporating dental implants.

A dental implant is a titanium post that is placed into the jawbone by an oral surgeon. After a few months of healing, in which the implant has time to fully integrate into the bone, the implant is a stable platform to replace one or multiple missing teeth.

Some of the missing teeth replacement options that include the use of dental implants are:

Overdentures: Overdentures are a full or partial replacement for missing teeth, but aren't secured with adhesive. Instead, overdentures are secured to implants, which have specific fasteners to prevent movement of the denture.

This means that dentures no longer fall out and with an upper denture the palate doesn't need to be covered. Depending on the situation, 2 to 4 implants are placed in the jaw and after healing, attachments are secured to the implants and to the denture for a precise, snap-in fit.

Implant Supported Bridges (All-On-4, Teeth in a Day™): Implant supported bridges are an option for individuals missing many or all teeth. Unlike dentures or overdentures, the implant supported bridge utilizes implants to secure the prosthetic teeth in place.

Four or more implants are typically placed in the upper and lower jaw. After healing, each implant acts as an anchor for a dental bridge, securing a crown over it.

In the right cases, teeth can be extracted, implants placed, and a temporary implant supported bridge can be installed in the same day. This is often called Teeth in a Day™ and has the immediate satisfaction of having functioning teeth in a single day.

What Are the Benefits and Disadvantages of Different Tooth Replacement Option?

Once there is awareness that different tooth replacement options exist, it is then a good idea to review the numerous benefits and disadvantages of each option.

Conventional Dentures:

PROS: relatively low cost, decent appearance.

CONS: Social embarrassment when dentures are dislodged and/or loose, change in taste and less enjoyment of food, difficulty eating, often cause sores in mouth, unnatural color and feel, continued loss of bone in upper and lower jaws.

Overdentures:

PROS: Vast improvement in eating, overdentures don't become dislodged as often as dentures, help to retain bone around implants, are a great compromise between cost and significantly improved function.

CONS: Needs to be removed each night, continued loss of bone in areas without implants.

Implant Supported Bridges (All-On-4, Teeth in a Day™):

PROS: Most natural looking and functioning replacement for all teeth, the bridge stays in the mouth and only comes out when removed by your dentist, better preservation of bone, most often the bridge is delivered the same day that implants are placed.

CONS: Most expensive treatment option.

As listed above, the use of dental implants with an overdenture or implant supported bridge provides many benefits over conventional dentures and improve the quality of life for many people.

Each person is unique and has distinct requirements for their tooth replacement needs. However, just because someone may be missing one, many, or all of their teeth doesn't mean they must use dentures and forego the enjoyments of what a full set of teeth can offer.

With the advancements of dental implant technology, replacing one, several, or all teeth can help improve the overall quality of life.

If you are interested in a consultation to see what tooth replacement option may best fit your needs, contact Dr. Martin or Dr. Appelblatt at Tahoe Oral Surgery and Implant Center to schedule your consultation.

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About the Authors

Drs. Dan Martin and Rachel Appelblatt at Tahoe Oral Surgery and Implant Center are your local dental implant and oral surgery specialists. They are experienced and board certified oral surgeons who specialize in customer care using state-of-the art equipment and techniques. If you have any questions or concerns about oral surgery or dental implants, please don’t hesitate to contact them at TahoeOralSurgery.com.

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