If you are missing multiple teeth, you're probably aware of the two most common replacement options: a partial denture and multiple dental implants. However, there's a third replacement option you may want to consider: an implant supported denture. A sort-of hybrid between dentures and dental implants, the implant-supported denture consists of one (or several) rods that are implanted into the jawbone, as well as a "denture" that snaps onto these rods. This tooth replacement option offers several advantages over both dentures and dental implants. Here's a closer look.
What are the advantages of an implant supported denture over standard dentures?
Regular dentures tend to move around in the mouth when you talk and chew, which can make it hard to eat certain foods or pronounce certain words. Implant supported dentures are more stable since they anchor to posts that are sturdily implanted in your jaw bone. You don't have to use any adhesives. Because there is less movement, you'll suffer from less mouth irritation with an implant supported denture than with a standard one.
Some patients with standard dentures find that since the denture covers such a wide portion of their palate and traps moisture against it, the tissue at the top of their mouth becomes prone to infection. Implant supported dentures tend to cover less of a palate, so this is less of a concern.
What makes an implant supported denture a better choice than dental implants?
The process of having the implants that support your denture inserted is less invasive than that associated with having multiple dental implants put into place. The implants that support your denture are smaller, so they take less time to heal after surgery. Generally, you'll need four small implants to support your denture, so if you're missing more than four teeth, the implant-supported denture requires fewer implants and is thus an easier, less painful surgery to undergo.
For most patients, an implant supported denture is also a more affordable choice than dental implants. If you already have a denture, your dentist will likely be able to modify it to be compatible with your new implants. If you were to have multiple standard implants put into place instead, the cost of all of those crowns (one for each missing tooth) would add up quickly.
How do you know if you're a candidate for an implant supported denture?
Because having the implants for implant supported dentures inserted is a less extensive procedure than having multiple dental implants inserted, people who are not candidates for standard implants are often eligible for implant supported dentures. You need to be in decent overall health so that your dentist knows you can tolerate anesthesia and heal properly. You may not be a candidate if you have uncontrolled diabetes or a weakened immune system.
Though dentists were once hesitant to perform any type of implant surgery on diabetics, studies are now showing that those with well-controlled diabetes can heal well from the procedure. Thus, if you were told in the past that you were not a candidate for implant supported dentures because you are diabetic, you may want to get a second opinion now.
What are the downfalls of an implant supported denture?
While implants supported dentures are an excellent solution for many people, they do have their downside. They are not always covered by dental insurance, and thus you may end up having to pay for them out of pocket. Many dentists offer credit programs so you can pay for the procedure over time if needed. Also, surgery is required for implant supported dentures. You will need 3 - 4 months to recover from the initial surgery (in which the implants are put into place) and about 2 weeks to recover from the second surgery (in which the caps that attach to the dentures are put into place). The discomfort associated with dental implants is not extreme, but you will need to eat a soft diet and be mindful of your mouth during this time.
If you are looking for the best way to replace multiple missing teeth, talk to your dentist about implant supported dentures. They offer an excellent middle ground between standard dental implants and a traditional denture. For more information, check out websites like http://www.vbandk.com/.
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