When patients hear the word dentures they automatically picture false sets of teeth that need to be taken out and placed in water overnight. However, times have changed and thanks to implant-retained dentures, the days of removing and cleaning dentures are all but gone. Implant-retained dentures are the most advanced form of denture – they are anchored by structurally sound dental implants, which are titanium screws fixed into sockets in the jaw and provide unrivalled structural support.
What is the difference?
Normal dentures are held in place by the natural suction of the gums, whereas implant-retained dentures are supported by the permanent fixture of dental implants. This has a range of benefits for the patient and they can be used to support both partial and complete dentures.
- Dental implants are placed by making an incision in the gum, lifting the tissue and drilling sockets into the jaw bone.
- The implants are then placed in the holes and the gum is stitched and left to heal.
- Once the implants have integrated, the dentures can be attached and you can start enjoying your new smile.
- If you already have implants in support of single crowns, a denture can be made to accommodate the existing teeth.
The procedure to place implants is carried out under local anaesthetic to ensure it is pain-free. If you are nervous about having treatment or have a phobia of injections, please do not hesitate to talk to the dentist prior to the procedure.
What are the advantages of implant-retained dentures?
The combination of dentures and implants helps to address many of the problems associated with wearing dentures. The benefits include:
- Peace of mind - one of the most common concerns is dentures coming loose, but patients with implant-retained dentures can rest assured this will not be a problem. The dentures will be held firmly in place.
- Improved function - the increased support also helps to improve the function of the dentures. Patients can eat what they want without fear of denture breakage and there is no adverse effect on speech.
- Aesthetics - implant-retained dentures are designed to look as lifelike as possible and modern designs look very similar to natural teeth.
- Simplicity - once the implants and dentures have been placed, treatment is relatively simple and there is no need for denture adhesive.
- Decreased bone loss - dental implants can help to reduce bone loss, which becomes increasingly likely as you get older.
Am I suitable for treatment?
If you have missing teeth and would like to enjoy the best possible aesthetics and function, implant-retained dentures may be an ideal solution. They are generally recommended for people who have good oral health and non-smokers. Your dentist will be able to advise if you are an appropriate candidate or recommend a suitable alternative.