If you have lost most of your natural teeth, you may be resigned to the thought of never having the full functionality or appearance of natural teeth ever again.
Even dentures don’t fully solve the problem, as they require a lot of maintenance and can easily fall out due to their looser fit. This doesn’t have to be the case, though.
While traditional dentures have been the only option for missing teeth for a long time, advances in dental implants are providing more choices with fewer disadvantages.
However, implant-retained dentures are a permanent commitment compared to temporary traditional dentures. To help you decide whether implant dentures would be best for you, this blog explains the difference between the denture types and the benefits of denture implants.
What are traditional dentures?
Most people know what traditional dentures are, in general – a set of removable artificial teeth. More specifically, they’re made using a customised acrylic base designed to look like the patient’s gums, which is moulded to fit over the ridge of bone covered by their existing gums.
Conventional dentures are anchored by suction, often requiring a dental adhesive to keep them in place properly. This can be a source of frustration for denture wearers, who often worry about their dentures becoming loose and slipping out of their mouths.
As they are fully removable, dentures are typically taken out for cleaning and aren’t worn overnight. Despite the drawbacks of traditional dentures, many people rely on them because they offer a pleasant enough appearance, and can be made fairly quickly and affordably.
What are denture implants?
As the name suggests, this type of denture is anchored to the jaw using implants placed directly into the jawbone. This is a type of titanium screw that acts the way a tooth root would, providing a secure foundation for a denture to attach to.
Implant-assisted dentures can either be removable or fixed. The removable version is sometimes known as a ‘click-in’ or ‘snap-on’ denture, as the acrylic denture attaches to the implants but can still be removed for cleaning or taken out at night.
The fixed version permanently attaches the denture to the implants, anchoring them securely so that they can only be removed by a qualified dentist. Depending on the number of implants used, these can also be known as ‘All On 6’ or ‘All On 4’ dental implants.
In either case, it’s not as quick a solution as a traditional denture, because your gums and jawbone have to be given time to heal after the initial implant procedure. Once the embedded implants have successfully fused with the bone, the permanent denture can be attached.
Of course, you’ll be fitted with a temporary bridge in the meantime, so you can continue to eat, talk, and smile without worrying about your teeth.
What are the benefits of denture implants?
There are many advantages to implant-retained dentures that make them more favourable than traditional dentures, not least that they look and function almost exactly as your natural teeth would. Here are the primary benefits of choosing denture implants.
Improves bone density
As conventional dentures sit on top of the gums, they don’t actually stimulate the jawbone underneath. When the jaw is no longer being stimulated by the rooted teeth that are now missing, the bone will begin to deteriorate and lose density.
This process is called resorption, as the calcium is redistributed elsewhere to parts of the body where it will actually be used. As a result, the jaw begins to shrink and change shape, which alters the structure of the face to create a hollow and ‘sunken-in’ appearance.
It also causes traditional dentures to become ill-fitting, requiring replacements due to the changing shape of the receding jawbone. All of this can have a severely negative impact on the patient, who has to deal with a changing and prematurely ageing face alongside loose dentures.
When you have denture implants, the titanium posts implanted into the jaw act like the roots of natural teeth, allowing your dentures to stimulate the jawbone again when you bite and chew. This helps to preserve bone density and prevent the unwanted effects of resorption.
Makes chewing easier
Since traditional dentures aren’t attached directly to the jawbone, they’re prone to slipping and being dislodged from the gums they rest on. Even with improvements in modern denture adhesives, they aren’t foolproof – leaving wearers having to stick to softer foods thanks to their weaker bite.
Loose dentures also increase the risk of food getting trapped underneath, which can cause discomfort and lead to infections. In the case of upper dentures, which often cover the palate, they can also affect your ability to taste food and drinks properly.
Implant-supported dentures, on the other hand, are far more stable. You can bite down firmly without worrying about the denture coming loose, allowing you to eat your favourite foods once again and fully enjoy the taste and experience of eating.
Denture implants also tend to be smaller than traditional dentures, making it easier to bite and chew precisely without choking or gagging on thick and bulky dentures.
Boosts your confidence
Being more closely fitted and securely anchored than a traditional set of removable false teeth, denture implants both look and feel much more natural. It’s harder for anyone to notice that you have dentures when they appear and function just like natural teeth.
As well as being bulkier, which can contribute to speech problems like mumbling or lisping, traditional dentures can shift and slip throughout the day, making your smile look awkward and uneven. This can be a great source of anxiety for denture wearers, damaging their self-confidence.
Meanwhile, the stability and close fit of denture implants allows you to enunciate clearly for effective communication, so you can speak and laugh freely without worrying about the dentures falling out or looking strange in your mouth.
No more embarrassing moments or constant worry about people noticing your dentures – you can never underestimate the power of the confidence boost that secure dental implants can give you compared to traditional dentures.
Convenient to maintain
Of course, you need to maintain good oral hygiene and take appropriate care of both types of dentures to get the best use out of them. However, regular dentures require a lot more upkeep, as you have to remove them in order to clean them properly.
Traditional dentures need to be taken out and brushed carefully with denture toothpaste, rinsed, and then left to soak overnight in a solution with specialist cleansing tablets. You may have to apply adhesive before re-inserting them, which can also leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
Thanks to the implanted mechanism holding fixed denture implants in place, you can treat them like regular teeth. That means brushing and flossing normally, and no longer having to bother with adhesive creams and cleansing solutions day in, and day out.
While you should continue to attend regular dentist check-ups for your dental implants, you won’t have to visit as often as you would with conventional dentures. Due to the changing fit as a result of shrinking jawbone density, you’re likely to need frequent adjustments for the latter.
Cost-effective over time
As the tried-and-tested simpler method, traditional dentures are cheaper, while the newer surgical implants are more expensive upfront. The price will depend on factors such as the type of denture, materials, and the trained dental professional who performs the procedure for you.
However, there are often dental financing options available to help you spread the higher cost of denture implants. Being able to split the expense into smaller payments through a monthly repayment plan makes implant-supported dentures much more accessible.
You also need to bear in mind that over time, traditional dentures are prone to wear and tear, requiring repairs and adjustments as your jaws and gums change from gradual bone loss. You’re likely to have to pay to replace standard dentures around every 5–7 years.
Permanent denture implants are designed to last for up to 20 years or more. So, depending on how well you look after them, you could get multiple decades of use out of your new set of teeth, with hardly any effort involved beyond regular brushing and flossing as you would with natural teeth.
Are denture implants right for you?
If you have missing teeth, severe recurring gum disease, or loss of jawbone density, or you’re simply tired of your regular dentures reducing your quality of life, then you could be an ideal candidate for implant-retained dentures.
The first step is to find a local dental clinic that provides this service and make an appointment for a consultation. Your chosen dentist will be able to explain the different types of surgical denture procedures so you can make an informed choice about the best option for you.
If you proceed with denture implants Warrington, you can expect attentive and thorough dental support at every stage, from the initial consultation right through the implant surgery itself and post-operative aftercare.
If you’re ready to make the switch from disappointing standard dentures to permanent denture implants, why wait any longer?