Implant Supported Dentures
Updated: Nov 29, 2019
Implant-supported dentures are the gold standard for replacing a full arch of teeth. Traditional dentures rest on the gums and are often uncomfortable for patients. If they are even a bit loose, the dentures can rub on the gums and create sore spots. There's also the chance of traditional dentures coming loose and falling out when talking or eating. Patients find they are often too embarrassed to eat and speak with their traditional dentures.
Implant-supported dentures address these issues because they are supported by four (or more) implants. The implants are placed into the jaw bone and the denture is secured on top via abutments. Implant-supported dentures do not rely on adhesives or creams for security. When compared to traditional dentures, they feel more comfortable and secure in the patient's mouth and are better for eating. When implants are placed, they help to maintain the integrity of the patient's facial structure. Implants integrate with the jaw bone and help to strengthen and maintain the jaw and cheeks, thus preventing a receding jaw. The latest innovation in this sector is All-on-4 dentures; these can be completed in one day and in patients who may have been ineligible for implants in the past. The difference is the angle at which the implants are placed. Dentists can use only 4 implants to secure a full arch of teeth.
Implants help to maintain the integrity of the patient's facial structure.
The process for replacing missing teeth with implant-supported dentures (or All-on-4 dentures) can take from one day to several months. The process begins with an examination and diagnosis: the dentist will utilize CT scans to examine the jaw and to determine bone levels and potential implant placement sites. Now the dentist can use computer simulation to create the treatment plan. Treatment begins with the surgical placement of the implants in the jaw bone. On this day, a temporary acrylic denture may be placed to help with the healing process. It takes about three months for the surgical sites to heal and for the implants to integrate with the jaw bone via osseointegration. Lastly, the permanent teeth are used to replace the temporary denture. The final denture is made of a stronger material which should last for many years.
Traditional dentures are removable, and they must be cleaned daily and meticulously. Since implant-supported dentures are fixed (non-removable), they behave like your natural teeth and are maintained in the same way (by brushing and flossing). It's also important to see the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleaning to maintain the longevity of the dentures.
As with any dental procedures, there are some cons to implant-supported dentures. Primarily, the cost. The fees for implant-supported dentures can start at about $20,000 and go up based on whether the patient needs bone grafts, sinus lifts, or other additional treatment. The treatment time is also longer than with traditional dentures, which can be manufactured and placed in a few weeks. However, the advantages of implant-supported dentures outweigh the negatives. Implant-supported dentures are more comfortable, they are fixed (non-removable), and provide immediate functionality.
If you are looking to transform your smile, be sure to apply for a dental grant to receive up to 30% towards your dental treatment.