One day in the future, or possibly sooner, we all have to face the fact we may need dentures. A cruel fact of anno domini, or the premature result of an accident, disease or poor oral health and you have lost your teeth. And, if this day has already arrived, you may loathe the idea you may be the butt of so many jokes. You will no longer be able to enjoy so many of your favourite foods, and you hate the idea your dentures might slip and cause you embarrassment. With the Same Day Teeth Team in Solihull, we no longer have to dread the worst but can relax in the knowledge Implant retained dentures will give you the feeling the clock has been reversed. Although nothing can replace your original teeth, with implants you get a better function than with traditional dentures, and the bonus of an attractive smile.
1 # What are Implant Retained Dentures?
Implant Retained Dentures are tiny titanium poles strategically inserted into your jaw bone at intervals. The dentures are then connected to the implants with clips which hold the new denture securely in place.
2# How are the implants fitted?
Fitting implants is a surgical procedure, carried out under anesthetic or sedation if the patient prefers. A very small channel is cut into the gum, and the implant is inserted. The implant is covered and is allowed to heal in place for the next four to six months. Every patient has their own unique capacity to heal and time is required for the bone to regenerate, integrating the implant securely in the jawbone.
3# What about how the dentures look?
For all our patients, how their implant retained dentures will look is an essential part of their treatment. The implants and dentures are custom made by skilled technicians in our laboratory. The technicians will spend a great deal of time creating the framework of the dentures from impressions of your mouth and 3D images, to be sure they have the shape, size and colour of the teeth looking as natural as possible. The fit, comfort and function of the denture are very important. The denture not only has to fit securely onto your implants but has to feel comfortable and function well so there are fewer restrictions on what type of foods you can eat, and you feel self-assured in all situations. With implants, your dentures will not move when you chew, unlike traditional dentures, and you can smile with confidence.
4# Can I try Implant Retained Dentures if i have dentures already?
Some patients, who already wear dentures, are not happy because traditional dentures are notoriously difficult to keep in place and they have to use an adhesive or fixative to prevent them from slipping. They have to avoid certain foods and can no longer bite into a crunchy apple or chew a steak. These patients now choose implant retained dentures to secure their new dentures and regain their self-esteem, while other patients will try dentures for a short period to make sure that they are happy with the color, the bite, and the general feel of the denture.
Patients will sometimes get used to their conventional dentures and not proceed with implants, but they will still lose more bone underneath their denture. There is an understanding that they will still probably require the implants at some time in the future. Few patients ever consider reverting from dentures with retention implants to conventional dentures, as they make such a big difference to their efficiency and well-being. You can prepare for your visit to the dentist by having a list of questions written in advance.
5# How long do implant retained dentures take to fit?
This is, by its very nature, case specific. Generally speaking, we are looking at anywhere between four to six months from the start of treatment to the finish. This tends to be the usual time frame to allow the implants to integrate with the patient’s bone, and for the superstructure denture to be constructed to fit around it.
Very occasionally treatment can be completed in a much shorter time frame, but it depends on the type of implants and the quality of the patient’s bone.
6# What happens between surgery for the implants and fitting my dentures?
From the day your implants are fitted, you can rest assured you will always have a denture. We usually provide our patients with two dentures; the trial denture which has been custom made to fit and a second denture which will be worn on top of the implants while they are healing.
At the end of the treatment, you will have a new denture which will be constructed to clip onto your implants. Sometimes we will use the original one because it may be a perfect fit and might not need much adjustment. But occasionally we provide a second denture; two-for-one and you will have a spare! Most patients prefer to have a new permanent denture when their treatment is finalised. We offer payment plans to suit our patients needs. This makes Implant retained dentures an affordable option to most.
7# What restrictions and risks are there with implant retained dentures?
The first diagnosis the dentist will make is to discover why you have lost your teeth. If you are a heavy smoker, or poor oral hygiene has resulted in serious gum disease, there are risks to inserting implants, and your chances of healing are diminished.
However, educated patients, who understand the complexities of looking after their implants and comprehend the risks involved, and know the longevity of their implants cannot be guaranteed, may be still considered for the treatment. The patient can receive treatment knowing the limitations from the outset. However, they can also realise the advantages of making improvements to their general health and well-being if they are prepared to make some changes.
With modern diagnostic aids and three-dimensional x-rays, dentists can see the density and condition of the jaw bone and the best placement of the implants before starting treatment. With thorough planning, they can almost always preempt problems. Nevertheless, an implant occasionally fails to integrate into the bone regardless of careful planning. When this happens, our approach is to either revisit the failure and then look at replacing it with a further implant or to concede failure and go back to a conventional denture. The patient is made fully aware this can happen from the outset.
8# How to look after implants and dentures.
Firstly, your dentures must be unclipped and regularly removed to clean the implants underneath. And the dentures themselves must be soaked in cleaning agents and cleaned thoroughly several times a day. Your dentures will look good, but if they are to function well, oral hygiene is very important. Not only must you keep your implants and dentures scrupulously clean but you will need to keep regular appointments with the hygienist who will professionally clean your implants and instruct you on how to keep your gums healthy. Implant retained dentures are a commitment not to be taken lightly but right from the outset you will be advised on how to look after your dentures. You will need to see your dentist for many follow-ups and reviews. It would be a recipe for disaster if you were to walk away with your brand new teeth thinking that is the end of the story. Once you have your new teeth, your dentist will continue to look after you so you can carry on smiling!
Anything you would like to ask about Implant Retained Dentures? Post your comment below and we’ll make sure to answer.