In Boynton Beach, Florida, patients of all ages face the challenge of missing teeth. Approximately 20 million Americans currently wear dentures, but many of them are not satisfied with this treatment. At Jamie J. Alexander, DDS, we are committed to helping patients make informed choices.
We give them the time and information they need to explore the alternative of dental implant treatment, and we guide them to make a decision that is right for them. In this week’s blog, I’d like to explore the pros and cons of dental implant supported dentures versus conventional removable dentures.
For many decades, traditional dentures were the only option for patients who had lost most or all of their teeth. These custom-made prostheses attach to the gums by suction and must be taken out each night for cleaning.
Patients appreciate these conventional dentures because they quickly restore their smiles without the added procedures of dental implants—and because they are typically more affordable than implant-supported dentures…at least initially.
Despite the fact that conventional dentures are a tried-and-true means of replacing missing teeth, they are not an ideal treatment option for many patients. Conventional dentures do not stimulate the bone tissue beneath the gums, leading to jawbone reabsorption.
In addition to changing your facial appearance, this can change the fit of your denture over time, leading to frustrating slippage. As the prosthesis slides back and forth over the gums, it can also create uncomfortable sores.
Because traditional dentures are stabilized by suction, they often shift during speech, eating, or other motion—and they must be held in place by poor-tasting, sticky adhesives. In some cases, patients must have healthy teeth extracted to make way for dentures, unnecessarily losing important teeth.
Unfortunately, removable dentures require frequent replacement. The frequency depends on the amount of bone loss you experience but may be every few years. Over the years, this can add up to costs exceeding the dental implant alternatives.
I often recommend dental implants for patients who are missing because they offer numerous advantages over traditional dentures. First, they are very versatile. Dental implants can replace a single tooth, a row of teeth, or an entire arch, depending on the attached restoration. This means that patients do not have to have healthy teeth extracted in order to have a full denture.
Depending on your circumstances, you also may be able to have your denture supported and retained by as few as two dental implants.
As few as four dental implants can retain a full hybrid denture, that stays in your mouth. Once your denture is securely attached to the titanium posts firmly rooted in place through osseointegration with the jawbone, it does not shift within your mouth. You have the biting and chewing strength to eat all of your favorite foods, and to speak and laugh with confidence.
The implants stimulate bone tissue growth and maintain your facial structure and the fit of your prosthesis. Although implant treatment costs are more than traditional dentures, your implant stabilized denture can last 20 years with proper care, making this treatment more affordable than conventional dentures in the long run.
Aside from initial cost, treatment time is the most common reason patients decide to go with a conventional denture. In the case of standard implants, oral surgery is required to place the implants. Sometimes, bone grafting or sinus lift surgery may be needed prior to implant surgery.
With each surgery, a period of healing occurs before the next step in the implant treatment process. Therefore, entire process often takes four to six months. However, advances in dental materials and technology are allowing for faster and more predictable dental implant healing.
An examination of your mouth and diagnostic x-ray imaging will enable me to determine if standard implants or mini-implants are an option for you. I offer a no charge initial consultation so you can learn more about the benefits and disadvantages of dentures vs. dental implants for your specific oral health circumstances, and you can learn what dental implant treatment would involve for you.
If you already have a removable denture and are concerned about the cost of transitioning to an implant-supported denture, keep in mind that we may be able to have your existing denture retrofitted to be supported by an implant.