Dentures have been around for centuries, but that doesn't mean that they haven't seen some improvements over the years. If you have multiple missing teeth and thinning bones and are investigating potential replacement methods, you may have stumbled across dental implants only to have your hopes dashed. However, you might get that hope back with implant-supported dentures. Here's how.
The Problem With Standard Implant Replacement
Standard dental implants are fantastic for replacing missing teeth, but they're not for everyone. When you have weakened bones, whether due to natural aging or a disease, implants often aren't an option. This is because you would need to have one implant inserted for every missing tooth, which could overwhelm the jaw bone and cause it to fracture. This is because dental implants go all the way down into the bone and rely upon the bone to support them. If it's not possible for you to strengthen your bones at this time, dental implants may not be the solution you need. However, another implant method could work.
How Implant-Supported Dentures Work
Implant-supported or -mounted dentures are often popular with people with conditions like yours. This is because they provide the permanence that dental implants provide without requiring as much strength from the jaw.
The reason for this is that dentures supported by implants don't need every single empty tooth space to have an implant in it. Instead, these dentures are usually only supported by a few dental implants acting as mounting points in your jaw. It's much easier for the jaw bone to handle, say, six implants versus a whole mouthful of them.
What to Expect
Getting implant-mounted dentures is a fairly straightforward process, but it will require multiple visits to the dentist's office.
The first thing your dentist will do is ensure that you're eligible for this type of tooth replacement. This can be accomplished with an examination and dental x-rays. Once it has been determined that your bones are strong enough to support a few dental implants, you can proceed.
The dental implants will be inserted during a short surgical procedure, during which you'll be placed under general anesthesia. Once they're in place, you'll be woken up and can go home. Keep in mind that the dentures won't be mounted yet — your body will need time to let the bone fuse to the dental implants to ensure they're safely secured.
During the time that you're healing, your dentist will order a set of custom dentures for you based on your current dental x-rays. This will ensure that your new dentures are as closely matched to your original teeth as possible. Once the implants are done healing, you'll come back to the office to have the dentures mounted on top of them. That's it: you're done! Your permanent dentures won't budge or wiggle like standard dentures do, and you'll be able to chew and smile with confidence.
Contact a dentist to learn more about the different types of dentures.