Missing teeth can profoundly impact your life.  With the use of dentures, people with missing teeth can enjoy a better quality of life.  However, one of the most common complaints with dentures is the simple fact that dentures often slip and don’t stay in securely.  Obviously, this can be an embarrassment, but simple things like eating and chewing can be also become taxing with unstable dentures.  Thankfully there is a solution.  With the use of dental implants to stabilize the dentures, denture patients can enjoy improved health, easier chewing, improved speech and an overall boost in confidence with a simple and minimally invasive procedure.  Here are some frequently asked questions about dental implants and different types of dentures.

What is a Dental Implant and Why is it Necessary?

People with missing teeth can choose to have a dental implant (a small titanium anchor) permanently placed into their upper and/or lower jaw.  Over time, the implant integrates with the bone and acts very much like your natural tooth.  These implants provide edentulous patients with much more stability with the overdentures and are increasingly considered the first choice in the standard of care.

What are Dentures and Overdentures?

When some or all of a person’s teeth are missing, the treatment option to replace multiple teeth is called overdentures.   When your overdentures are retained by your implants it has a more secure and comfortable fit and doesn’t rely on adhesives to stay in place.

Why Choose Dental Implants Over Regular Dentures?

Perhaps one of the most important considerations when looking at one’s options for dentures is to consider the future possibility of more bone loss.  Studies have shown that dental implants can help significantly reduce the resorptive bone-loss process by about 75 percent in the areas where implants are placed compared to areas without implants.  This is a major cornerstone of modern dentistry and preventing more bone loss is a key factor in successful overdenture treatment.

Can Dental Implants Help Improve Nutrition and Mastication (Chewing)?

The short answer is…YES!  Evidence suggests that patients with two-implant overdentures rate their quality of life and their oral health as higher than people with conventional dentures.  No more lose dentures and embarrassing moments eating or speaking in public.  Data suggests that when patients have a simpler form of dentures, they are able to modify their diets and improve their nutrition, which in turn can positively impact their overall general health.

Can this Treatment Be Applied to my Upper Denture?

Not exactly.  The upper implant has different needs and requirements to be successful.  Physiologically there are many differences in bone volume and density which makes upper jaw implants unpredictable.  Whereas for the lower jaw, just two implants are needed for a successful implant, it may take as many as four to six implants in the upper jaw to retain an upper overdenture.  This is an increasingly more complex and expensive procedure. More research needs to be done, and the upper two-implant overdenture is not considered a standard procedure at this time.

Who is a Good Candidate for this Treatment?

Generally, if you are healthy enough to have a tooth extraction, you are also healthy enough for the two-implant dental implant and overdenture treatment.  If you are dissatisfied with your conventional dentures and are suffering from discomfort and lack of retention, you are probably a great candidate.  Additionally, research has shown that increasing age and osteoporosis are not barriers to a successful outcome.  The surgical phase of this treatment can usually be done in one visit, although proper assessment and planning for the procedure should be expected.  Taking good care of your teeth and gums before your procedure is very important.  You’ll be able to resume normal (2 times per day) brushing and flossing after your implants. Here is a before and after guide for dental implant maintenance.

East Valley Dental Can Help!

Please note that East Valley Dental Professionals does not perform dental implant procedures–we do dental implant reconstruction. This information has been provided for educational purposes only. You are more than welcome to contact us to set up an appointment to discuss which approach is right for you.