One of the fastest growing ways to replace missing teeth are implant-supported dentures. These devices are a hybrid of sorts, combining the low prices of dentures with the bone tissue-preserving qualities of implants.
Patients no longer have to choose between affordable but often uncomfortable dentures or expensive implants when it comes to replacing lost teeth. It is now possible to combine the two into one effective solution that is significantly cheaper than replacing an entire set of teeth with implants.
How implant-supported dentures are used to replace missing teeth
The installation of implant-supported dentures often begins with four to six implants being surgically inserted into the patient's jawbone. These are used to keep the dentures permanently in place once fitted by the dentist. Implants are usually made from titanium, but there are other materials like zirconium for patients that react poorly to that metal.
After the insertion of the implant, the surgical site is given three to six months to heal and for the implant to properly fuse with the bone tissue holding it in place. This process is called osseointegration.
Once the implants are fully fused, a specialized denture set is permanently attached to it. As mentioned earlier, this prosthetic stays in permanently and helps restore the function and look of the patient's natural teeth. The artificial teeth that come with the dentures are typically made of acrylic instead of ceramics and porcelain, making them cheaper to repair if any issue occurs over time. Patients also have the option of getting dentures with porcelain teeth if they are willing to pay a bit more.
Benefits of implant-supported dentures
The many advantages that come with implant-supported dentures have to do with the increasing popularity of these devices. The main benefits include:
- They do not come with the time-consuming cleaning requirements of traditional dentures; cleaning these devices is just like cleaning real teeth: Brush twice each day, floss daily and visit a dentist twice a year
- They are significantly cheaper than having a full arch of teeth replaced with dental implants
- They are firmly secured in the wearer's mouth, so there is no need to worry about them falling out when speaking or eating
- They feel and look just like natural teeth
Disadvantages of implant-supported dentures
As effective as implant-supported dentures can be for replacing missing teeth, there are a few drawbacks worth noting. These include:
- The artificial teeth gradually wear down over time
- Patients might have to give up the prosthetic for a few days while damaged teeth are being repaired
- Implant failures can have a domino effect: While the risk of an implant developing issues down the road is lower than 5 percent, it can be catastrophic when it happens; since all four implants work together to keep the dentures in place, one becoming damaged can end up compromising the others, as they are forced to pick up the slack
Contact one of our dentists to learn more about implant-supported dentures.
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