Dentures have been around in some form for hundreds of years. While not the wooden ones often mentioned in the popular myth, even George Washington wore dentures constructed of a variety of materials including gold, lead, ivory, and even human teeth. Historically, dentures have offered some challenges in durability, fit, and comfort, but overall their development and usage has helped millions of people enjoy better dental health, nutrition, and cosmetic appeal.
In the past few decades, however, dental implants have become increasingly popular and this surge in interest has caused many denture wearers to consider making the switch. If you are a denture wearer who is now interested in moving to dental implants, here are some important questions to ask your dental health provider.
Will bone loss issues be an obstacle when seeking dental implants?
Wearing dentures for a long time, as well as the aging process and some types of health issues, can result in significant bone loss. When the jawbone is affected by this type of bone deterioration, it can make it difficult or impossible for it to properly support one or more dental implants. In some cases, bone grafts using your own or donated cadaver bone tissue can successfully strengthen and thicken a deteriorated jaw bone and make dental implants possible.
What are implant-supported denture appliances?
Unlike individual dental implants, an implanted supported denture appliance is anchored to the jaw bone through two or more supporting dental implants. These supportive implants hold the denture in place and allow the wearer to easily remove and clean the denture and then reinstall it without the use of creams or adhesives. Because these require fewer invasive procedures than separate implants for each tooth require, the process can sometimes be used in patients who may not have sufficient bone throughout their jaw bone for individual implants.
What type of lifespan can be expected from dental implants?
Some of the most common reasons for unhappiness with dentures is discomfort when wearing them, chewing difficulties, and frequent needs to have them readjusted, relined, or replaced. Denture wearers also often become weary of the special cleaning and soaking procedures that most dentures require.
Because dental implants are designed to permanently attach to the jawbone and remain in service for decades of use, they offer more long-term use value and convenience that less durable dentures can provide.
Denture wearers who are interested in dental implants should start by discussing their oral health care situation with their dentist or a reputable dental implant dentistry professional.