There are many reasons you may choose dentures. Dentures are an inexpensive option to restore missing teeth, and they are easy to clean and maintain. However, dentures also have some significant drawbacks that may make you question your choice and wonder if dental implants are still an option.
Fortunately, regardless of how long you have had your dentures, dental implants can still be an option for you. Switching from dentures to dental implants provides a more permanent and comfortable choice for restoring missing teeth for a variety of reasons.
What Are Dentures?
Dentures are typically made of hard resin and serve as artificial teeth and gum fittings for those multiple missing teeth. Depending on how many teeth need replacement, you may have complete or partial dentures.
You may need complete dentures if all or most of your teeth are damaged, missing, or decayed. Any remaining teeth will require extraction, and the gums must heal before receiving your permanent complete dentures. In the interim, temporary or immediate dentures will restore your teeth.
When some of your natural teeth remain, you may require partial dentures, which fill in the gaps where teeth are missing and prevent the natural teeth from shifting. Partial dentures fit against the gums and use fastenings to the remaining teeth to stay in place.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are surgically implanted titanium screws placed into your jawbone, replicating the missing tooth’s root. They offer a permanent solution to restore missing teeth, and they feel, function, and look like your natural teeth.
Like dentures, dental implants can replace some or all of your teeth. Traditional dental implants replace each missing tooth, while All-on-4 dental implants replace an entire set of teeth with four implants inserted in the jaw to support the new teeth.
Why Switch From Dentures to Implants?
You can improve your oral health and daily life by switching from dentures to dental implants. An independent study conducted in 2014 found that 48% of those surveyed were unhappy with their dentures.
The concerns around patients’ current dentures were consistent, with common complaints including:
- Poor fit
- Unnatural appearance
- Dentures slipping in the mouth or feeling like they may fall out
- Food becoming trapped
In addition, since the jawbone recedes without stimulation from a tooth root, dentures do not stop bone loss. Although many patients delay replacing their dentures due to wear and tear and a receding jawbone, you should replace them every five years.
In contrast, dental implants do not slip or feel loose in the mouth. Food does not become trapped, and patients do not normally experience raw areas or sore gums. Dental implants allow you to resume eating all the foods you ate with your natural teeth and are cleaned and cared for in the same way.
Essentially, dental implants allow you to forget that your natural teeth are missing.
How Do Dental Implants Improve Your Oral Health?
When you lose an adult tooth, the jawbone begins receding immediately. Your natural teeth’s roots are part of the jawbone. When missing, the alveolar bone, which anchors the teeth in the mouth, stops receiving stimulation that the roots supply through chewing and biting.
Without simulation, the body begins to break down the jawbone, determining it unnecessary. While the rate of deterioration varies by patient, the bone loss continues as long as the alveolar bone goes unstimulated.
Jawbone deterioration causes dentures to slip over time and can cause your face to appear sunken. Since your surgeon places dental implants into the jawbone, it stops the bone from receding as they offer the same stimulation as tooth roots.
How Do I Switch from Dentures to Dental Implants?
You can switch to dental implants regardless of how long you have worn dentures. However, patients with significant jawbone recession may require a bone grafting procedure before implant placement.
The process of switching from dentures to dental implants varies depending on the type of implants you choose.
Dentures to Traditional Implants
When initiating the switch from dentures to implants, the first step is a complete examination from your oral and maxillofacial surgeon to create a plan and determine whether any preliminary procedures, such as a bone graft, are necessary.
Once your jaw is ready for implants, you can have your installation procedure. Your surgeon will insert a titanium rod that will heal and fuse to the jawbone. The healing process takes a few months.
After the implant fuses with the jawbone, you will receive an abutment, or support post, that serves as an anchor for your new crown. The crown will permanently serve as your new tooth.
Dentures to All-on-4®
All-on-4® dental implants are a minimally-invasive alternative to complete dentures. All-on-4 uses only four implants, placed strategically to maximize support. In addition, due to the angle of the implant placement, patients who previously would have required bone grafting for implants can avoid the procedure.
When you meet with your oral and maxillofacial surgeon to determine whether All-on-4 suits you, they will examine your jaw and mouth and use a CBCT scan to measure your jaw strength.
Under general anesthesia, your surgeon fits and installs your implants. You will receive a temporary prosthetic to compress the gum tissue and minimize swelling as the implants heal until your All-on-4 prosthesis is ready. Regular follow-up appointments are necessary to ensure your new teeth are healing properly.
Are You Ready to Forget About Your Missing Teeth?
When you wear dentures, you must constantly think about your false teeth. Eating, speaking, and cleaning your teeth require extra care. Dental implants mimic your natural teeth so closely that you can forget they are there.
The board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons at OMSNashville want you to feel good about your smile again. By placing dental implants, you will once again feel comfortable with your permanent solution to missing teeth.