Despite improvements in dental care, millions of Americans suffer tooth loss – mostly due to tooth decay, gingivitis (gum disease), or injury. For many years, the only treatment options available for people with missing teeth were bridges and dentures. But today, denture-retention implants and dental implants are available.
What Are Denture-Retention Implants?
Denture-retention implants, also known as mini dental implants, are small titanium posts attached to the patient’s jaw to stabilize or provide a more secure fit for a denture. This is a relatively painless, non-invasive procedure, and mini implants can be placed in about an hour’s time.
The system consists of miniature titanium implants that act like the roots of teeth and a retaining fixture that is incorporated into the base of the denture. The head of the implant is ball-shaped, and the retaining fixture acts like a socket: the retaining fixture snaps over the ball when the denture is seated and securely holds the denture in place.
How do they help denture wearers?
Denture wearers often lack confidence that their dentures will firmly stay in place in their mouths without becoming loose or floating. For patients who are having this difficulty, denture stabilization implants will help you eat and speak more confidently. This is especially helpful for the lower denture.
How are the implants placed?
Typically, four small implants are gently screwed into the ridge of the upper or lower jaw. The denture is then adjusted by the dentist to allow it to snap onto the implants. The result? A tight-fitting, reliable system that allows you to speak and eat with confidence.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth.
The key benefit of dental implants over other tooth replacement systems is that an implant connects directly to the jaw bone.
When you lose a tooth, especially a back tooth, you may feel you don’t need to replace it, since no one can see that it’s missing and you have plenty of other teeth. However, there is more bone loss going on under the surface once a tooth is lost.
Surrounding each tooth is an alveolar bone that supports the tooth and when the tooth is lost, that bone basically melts away. This is why people who have lost most of their teeth and are not wearing dentures appear to have a caved-in appearance to their mouths.
Dental implants, by using titanium – which biochemically joins to bone – to replace the root, create a bond that more accurately replicates the one found in nature and can help you avoid such bone loss.
According to Webmd, there are many additional advantages to dental implants, including:
Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.
With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth, causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.
Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
Dental implants can give you back your smile and help you feel better about yourself.
Improved oral health
Dental implants don’t require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?
In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. Patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits.
Heavy smokers, people suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders – such as diabetes or heart disease – or patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis.
If you live in the Fort Smith area and are considering implants, contact us to schedule an appointment and see if they are right for you.
Great dental care comes from caring about you, your situation, and how we can best serve you, not simply recommending the latest high-tech procedure, and we look forward to getting to know you and providing you with the best in dental care!