For patients with missing teeth looking for a more comfortable and confident smile, traditional dentures have long been a popular solution. However, some patients find dentures uncomfortable and have limitations. In recent years, dental implants have emerged as a desirable alternative due to their durability, comfort, and long-term benefits. The good news is that many denture patients can switch to dental implants. To determine eligibility, patients should consult their oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who will assess factors such as bone volume and density. Even patients with bone loss may still be eligible with the assistance of bone grafting.

Some benefits of dental implants over dentures include:

  • Dental implants may last a long time with proper care.
  • Implant-supported dentures are cared for like natural teeth and do not need to be removed at night for cleaning or while sleeping.
  • Dental implants hold traditional dentures firmly in place so they will not shift or fall out while eating, drinking, speaking, or laughing.
  • There are no dietary restrictions for eating with most dental implant-supported dentures.

The Importance of Bone Density for Dental Implants

Bone density is crucial for receiving dental implants, as the prosthetic root (implant) is inserted into the jawbone and needs to fuse with existing bone. Dentures, on the other hand, can lead to bone loss because they do not stimulate bone growth like natural teeth. As a result, the bone can resorb, causing the gums to shrink and altering the fit of dentures. However, patients with bone loss may undergo bone grafting treatment to rebuild a solid foundation for dental implants. The oral and maxillofacial surgeon places bone graft material in areas that need regrowth, and over time, new bone forms, improving density and volume enough to replace dentures with implants.

Replacing Missing Teeth with Dental Implants

Dental implants are versatile and can be used to replace single teeth, multiple teeth, or even a full arch. The All-On-4® treatment concept is especially beneficial for patients who are missing most or all of their teeth. With as few as four dental implants strategically placed in the jaw, a fixed denture bridge can be secured to the implants to restore the entire row of teeth simultaneously. This procedure stimulates the jaw, preventing bone loss and promoting bone growth while securely holding the dental prosthesis in place without the need for adhesives or suction. For those with a few missing teeth, implants can also support partial dentures or bridges, maintaining the health of surrounding teeth and allowing patients to resume their normal diet without concerns of shifting bridges.

Switching from Dentures to Dental Implants

Patients who are interested in transitioning from traditional dentures to implant-retained dentures or the All-On-4® treatment concept should talk to their oral and maxillofacial surgeon to see if they are a good candidate. Factors that patients may worry will exclude them may, in fact, be treatable conditions and may not prevent them from getting dental implants. Schedule a consultation at Glacial Sands OMS in Chesterton, IN by calling (219) 964-4321 to learn more.