Dentures are an affordable tooth replacement option that allow you to replace several missing teeth or a mouth full of missing teeth. However, dentures have their downsides—not only do they not help replace lost jawbone, they, in fact, contribute to it. Furthermore, dentures need to be relined or replaced every few years as they lose their fit as the bone resorbs.
Some people quickly adapt to dentures and find them a practical tooth replacement option. Most others are never able to get used to the feeling of dentures or may have trouble with the fit of their dentures, prompting them to seek additional treatment such as dental implants.
The good news is that most patients will qualify for a transition from dentures to dental implants. However, what do you need to know during this process? Here are three things to know when making the switch.
1. You May Still Need a Bone Graft
Although dentures look realistic and allow you to chew food, they do not stimulate your jawbone like natural teeth or dental implants. Why is this important?
Losing a natural tooth means your body will resorb the jawbone around the extraction site over time in a process called “atrophy of disuse”, and it generally happens sooner than you think. The majority of bone loss occurs within a year after losing a tooth, but receiving a bone graft at the time of a tooth extraction, whether or not an implant is placed prevents that bone loss from occurring.
With inadequate bone support, a dental implant cannot be successfully placed or will have its prognosis affected. Therefore, you may still need a bone graft when switching from dentures to dental implants. At Elite Prosthetic Dentistry, we avoid extracting all of the teeth with the placement of an immediate denture without first reinforcing the jaw with a graft, since that process results in extensive bone loss from pressure by the new denture. Dr. Marlin and Dr. Talmazov, implant specialists, strategically extract most, but not all, teeth placing an aesthetic prosthesis, followed by bone grafting. When the bone support is good, they perform an upscale All-on-4® procedure with bone preservation.
If you need to have teeth extracted and want to retain the option for dental implants even if you are getting dentures, ask your dentist about preserving the bone in the socket where the tooth was located. It may help improve the stability of your dentures and allow for successful implant placement in the future .
2. You Don’t Have to Replace Every Missing Tooth with an Implant
When switching from dentures to dental implants, patients have concerns about the cost, especially if they are missing most or all of their natural teeth.
Fortunately, you do not have to replace every missing tooth with an implant. Depending on your unique smile, you may have several options for restoring your missing teeth by strategically inserting fewer implants, rather than replacing every tooth with an implant.
Elite Prosthetic Dentistry offers flexible dental implant options such as an implant-supported bridge for multiple missing teeth or All-on-4® implant therapy. With the All-on-4® process, you can replace a mouth full of missing teeth with just four to six dental implants, which support a fixed restoration that will look and function like natural teeth.
These dental implant options provide a lower cost while still delivering a secure smile restoration, especially since they reduce the need for bone grafting, as only a few implants are needed .
3. Dental Implants Can Improve Your Quality of Life
Dental implants are an investment in your smile and quality of life as implant supported appliances look and function like natural teeth. In addition, unlike dentures which are seated on movable gum tissue, the implant supported appliances do not move as the underlying implants are securely anchored to the jawbone.
As a result, patients choosing dental implants report that they can eat better and speak more clearly, while not being embarrassed about their smiles . They also say they better enjoy their time with others because they aren’t so self-conscious.
When switching from dentures to dental implants, you are making a long-term investment in your smile.
While no one can promise you a lifetime of problem-free therapy, at Elite, our in-house custom-crafted crowns have lasted, on average, more than 35 years, which is several times longer than the national average of 5-10 years, and over 97% of our dental implants last well over 20 years requiring minimal maintenance. Compare this to dentures, which need to be replaced every five years or so.
Considering Switching From Dentures to Dental Implants?
If you are considering transitioning from dentures to dental implants, there’s never been a better time. Find out how you can transition from dentures to dental implants and enhance your smile by contacting Elite Prosthetic Dentistry for a consultation today.
In addition to being a very talented Prosthodontist in Washington DC and the Bethesda and Chevy Chase area in Maryland, Dr. George Talmazov has extensive expertise with advanced digital dentistry. He has developed software for the fabrication of oral appliances used in prosthodontic therapy. His focus in the area of digital restorative dentistry at Elite Prosthetic Dentistry aids in providing predictable and accurate treatment for patients, combining modern technology with our in-office hand-craftsmanship.