Did you know that there are over 36 million adults in America who are missing all of their teeth?
What are permanent dentures?
Statistics show that over 40 million Americans use dentures as a tooth replacement solution. Many of them use permanent dentures, which are prosthetic teeth that are permanently attached to the jaw with dental implants. Permanent dentures are more stable than traditional dentures and make it much easier for patients to smile, laugh, talk, and eat.
There are 5 types of permanent dentures:
Full/complete dentures replace an entire arch. A plastic base is used to support a full set of plastic or porcelain prosthetic teeth. The dentist will use a bone graft and/or sealant to hold the dentures in place. Full dentures may also be held in place by dental implants.
Partial dentures are used to replace one or a few missing teeth. A plastic or metal base is used to support prosthetic teeth. The piece has clasps that attach it to the remaining natural teeth.
Snap-on, or overdentures, are also referred to as implant-supported dentures. This tooth replacement option is held in place by remaining natural teeth or by implants in the jawbone. This option is more stable and versatile than traditional dentures and can be used to replace an entire arch.
A dental bridge is designed to replace one or several missing teeth. It may be attached to neighboring teeth or dental implants on each side of the gap. Typically, a dental bridge is permanently attached.
All-on-4 Dental Implants
All-on-4 dental implants replace an entire arch of teeth with just 4 implants. This tooth replacement option looks, feels, and functions just like natural teeth.
Denture Implants Step-by-Step
The process of getting denture implants takes a bit longer than getting traditional removable dentures because it requires surgery for dental implants. In addition, some of our patients require additional procedures such as extractions, bone grafting, or sinus augmentation before we can insert the implants.
The steps for getting permanent dentures are:
Consultation and Imaging
The first step is your initial consultation. At this time, we will discuss your dental and medical history, perform a thorough exam, and take images, which may include intraoral photos, panoramic x-rays, and/or 3D cone beam x-rays. This will help us determine your needs and create a treatment plan.
Next, if you have any decayed or damaged teeth that need to be removed, we will take care of that. Some patients don’t have the jawbone quality or density to support dental implants. If this is the case, we will do bone grafting or sinus lifting at this time. This will increase the chances that your dental implants will be successful.
Once you have healed from any extractions or bone grafting, we will place the implants into your jawbone. This will involve cutting open your gum to expose the bone and then drilling a hole in the bone. The implants will be placed, and the incision closed to give your bone time to heal around the implant. This process is known as osseointegration.
Once you have healed from the implant placement, we will expose the implants and attach the abutments. This will be the piece that the prosthetic tooth or teeth are attached to. At this time, we will also take new impressions to be sent to the lab for the fabrication of your permanent dentures. You will be able to choose the size and shade of your prosthetic teeth.
Finally, once the denture is fabricated, we will place in on your implants to give you a new, picture-perfect smile. The denture may be designed to be removable or may be permanently attached, based on your treatment plan.
Pros & Cons of Denture Implants
If you’re considering permanent dentures to replace your missing teeth, you’ll want to take the time to consider some of the pros and cons.
There are several advantages of denture implants, including:
- Permanent solution
- Looks natural compared to temporary dentures
- More comfortable and aesthetically pleasing
- Prevents jawbone deterioration
- Lasts longer than other tooth replacement options
However, there are some disadvantages you may want to consider:
- More expensive than other tooth replacement options
- Require extensive surgery to place the implants
Who is eligible for denture implants?
There are certain requirements that must be met to qualify for denture implants, including:
- Missing most/all teeth (or remaining teeth severely damaged)
- Moderate to no jawbone loss
- Non-smoker, doesn’t use tobacco
- No TMJ
- No gum disease
- Willingness to avoid hard foods
Implant-retained dentures don’t require as many implants as permanent solutions. In some situations, mini implants are appropriate. This can help make it more affordable and a little bit of bone loss isn’t a major issue.
If you smoke or use tobacco, you must be willing to give it up, at least while you recover from the procedure. Smoking is one of the most common reasons for implant failure.
Patients who have TMJ syndrome typically prefer to keep their teeth in at night, which is why permanent solutions may be better. This applies to those who are not willing to commit to a soft foods diet.
Finally, in order to be eligible for denture implants, you must have a healthy mouth. The patient must be willing to practice excellent oral hygiene afterward- but must also be prepared for treatment before. If you have periodontitis, it must be healed before the implants can be placed and patients with a history of gum disease are much more susceptible to infection.
What to expect from denture implants?
When you have denture implants, there are certain things you should expect:
The first few days are the most uncomfortable. You will have some pain and swelling, and the incisions may be tender to the touch. The dentist will prescribe pain medication and we may recommend that you use an ice pack to control swelling. You will also be given an antibiotic to guard against infection while you heal.
After about a week or two, you’ll see your symptoms begin to improve. The pain and swelling will subside, and you should be able to function better. you may still have some discomfort when touching on or near the incision site. During this time, the surgeon will remove any stitches or staples at this time. You still want to avoid strenuous activity or hard foods- and make sure to stay hydrated.
Eventually, most of the discomfort will be resolved and you should be almost functioning normally. You may still have some sensitivity at the incision site, but it should not stop you from your daily activities. If it does, you’ll want to speak with the dentist and have it addressed. There may be some scarring at the incision site, but this will fade over time until it’s barely noticeable.
Finally, once the implants are fully healed, the pain and discomfort should be gone. At this time, you should be back to your normal activities. You may still have some minor discomfort on occasion, but it can be managed with OTC pain relievers.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you are missing all or most of your teeth, you may want to consider denture implants as your tooth replacement solution.
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about denture implants.
How much are permanent dentures?
Pricing depends on the type of denture used, as well as any additional procedures required. Cost can be as low as $1,300 for a single arch complete/full denture to $30,000+ for All-on-4 dentures.
How do permanent dentures feel?
Permanent dentures are designed to look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Porcelain prosthetic teeth are closest to natural than other options.
Do permanent dentures fit better than temporary dentures?
Yes, permanent dentures are customized to the patient’s mouth, while temporary dentures are not. Therefore, permanent dentures will fit better than temporary.
Are implant dentures better than regular dentures?
Implant dentures are held in place by implants, while regular dentures are not. This means that regular dentures can slip and slide around in your mouth. Implant dentures are much better than regular dentures.
How long do denture implants last?
As long as you practice proper dental hygiene, the implants themselves should last a lifetime. However, the prosthetic may need to be replaced after 10 to 15 years, depending on how it is cared for.