All About Implant Dentures: Pros & Cons, Cost and the Procedure
It’s an unfortunate fact of life that as we get older, tooth loss is almost inevitable. Even those of us who have spent our entire lives brushing and flossing religiously will usually lose teeth with age.
For many people, it’s an incredibly uncomfortable process to lose multiple teeth, both mentally and physically. Eating becomes more difficult and you may often find yourself avoiding foods you like because they are now too hard to eat. This can mentally affect some people, and can often cause self-esteem issues on multiple different levels.
If either of these things sound like something you can relate to, we are happy to tell you there is an easy and painless solution to your problems: implant dentures.
Dentures have been around for decades now, and progress has been made consistently since they were first introduced. Many people who have never had dentures before probably think of them as the antiquated, scary looking teeth left in a glass of water on the bedside table. They are traditionally synonymous with all kinds of unpleasant issues, are stereotypically hard to maintain, and are also hard to keep in place.
With traditional dentures, some of that is still true (albeit slightly improved). However, dental technology has moved way past that, and implant dentures solve most (if not all) of the problems that traditional dentures have.
So if you were dreading the thought of dentures, read on a little bit. Because certain types of dentures can be much, much better than you may currently think. If you have any questions at any point, feel free to give Dr. Choi and his team a call at 214-592-0692 to see how they can help you with your dental needs.
The Three Types Of Dentures
There are three main different kinds of dentures that dentists in the US currently offer their patients. These are traditional dentures, snap-on dentures, and implant dentures. Implant dentures are at the cutting edge of dental technology. They are what Dr. Choi highly recommends to all his patients (but other kinds of dentures are available if preferred).
To fully understand what makes implant dentures so good, we need to go back a few steps and look at the shortcomings of the other 2 types of dentures. Let’s get started.
Denture Type 1 – Traditional Dentures
Traditional dentures are the kind of dentures that are responsible for giving the whole range of different denture types a bad name. They are the original kind of dentures, and while they once performed a vital function for which there was no alternative – these days they are becoming largely obsolete. For traditional dentures to be fitted, all of your remaining teeth need to be removed. It can then take around 8 to 10 weeks before your dentures are finally ready.
The list of problems that people can have with traditional dentures is as long, as it is varied. Here we are going list a few of the issues (and later in this article we are going to tell you how implant dentures solve them).
Eating Is Harder
The technical term for this issue is “Chewing Efficiency”, but what this boils down to in reality is that eating is going to be much, much harder. Some figures put the efficiency reduction as high as 50% (which means your mouth is going to have to work twice as hard as normal to eat). The reasons for this (and most of the other issues with traditional dentures) all comes down to stability.
The dentures on the upper jaw are usually held in place via suction. It’s far from a perfect fit, and wobbling is easily noticeable when eating – but at least it’s something. However, the lower jaw is where the real issues start. They are often not held in place by suction and rest on the jaw bone. There is a learning curve to eating with an unsecured lower denture, which involves holding it in place with your cheeks and tongue. Needless to say, this is less than ideal.
Because of how difficult it is to eat with traditional dentures, many people simply avoid hard foods altogether and live entirely on a soft diet. This is mentally tough going for many people, as they can no longer enjoy many of their favorite foods because of an insecure bite. It can also be detrimental to your overall health, as many of the nutrient rich foods we need as a part of a balanced diet are hard.
They Sound Unpleasant and They Fall Out
Try and picture the sound of dentures clacking around in someone’s mouth. We bet you can probably mentally hear that uncomfortable sound already. This is due to the bottom denture being unsecured, falling out of place, and then rolling around your mouth accidentally.
While you try to get them back in place with your tongue, the unpleasant sound is created. In the comfort of your own home, this is probably less of an issue, but traditional dentures fall out all the time. When out in public or around friends and family, it can cause embarrassment.
Your Jawbone Will Shrink
Perhaps the most alarming consequence of traditional dentures is the fact that your jawbone will shrink. Many people do not realize that without teeth (or implants) to put stress on the jawbone it will start to atrophy and largely disappear. This has associated issues that are a little out of scope for this article. But the main issue we want to get across is that over time, the fit of the lower jaw denture will become worse and worse. There will be less and less lower jaw for the denture to hold on to – and eventually, it’s going to be very, very difficult to eat.
They Can Look Unnatural
To be totally honest, this is less of a problem these days than it once was. The cosmetic appearance of traditional dentures has improved significantly compared to what it was a few decades ago. That being said, even the most expensive traditional dentures can be spotted by a keen eye. Cheaper lower quality dentures are often glaringly obvious to everyone and anyone.
To be fair to traditional dentures, they are inexpensive ways for people who have lost most (or all) of their teeth to have some kind of chewing ability brought back into their lives. If they are your only option, then they are still probably going to be a vast improvement on what you are currently dealing with.
But if we are honest – things can be much, much better.
Denture Type 2 – Snap-On Dentures
Most of the problems that we mentioned above with traditional dentures can easily be attributed to the lack of stability and security within the mouth. Snap-on dentures have been around for quite some time now. They were once something only the more affluent could afford – these days they have become much more affordable, and have exploded in popularity.
Once all nonviable teeth have been removed, then several implants are placed directly into the upper and lower jaw bones. More often than not, there are 2 implants in the lower jaw bone, and 4 in the upper jaw bone. The additional implants in the upper jaw are required because the upper jaw bone has a lower density.
When complete, these implants will directly and securely attach to the bottom of a set of dentures. This bonds the denture to the jaw bone with surprising efficiency. Compared to traditional dentures the difference is incredible. You will be able to eat most things without worrying about your dentures moving around.
They will never fall out randomly, and you do not have to try and hold them in place with your cheeks and tongue. Which also means you will not experience the embarrassment of creating the clacking denture sound we mentioned earlier.
They look great too, despite being reasonably affordable, snap-on dentures are still a premium product that have had a huge amount of research invested in them. They are all pretty much guaranteed to look brilliant.
Despite the significant improvements, snap-on dentures have over traditional dentures, there are still several improvements that could be made. We will list two of the main issues here:
You Clean Them Like Traditional Dentures
Despite snap-on dentures being highly secure in your mouth, they are not permanently attached. Which means they have been designed to be cleaned outside of your mouth. You will need to remove them nightly and sanitize them before reattaching them in the morning. While this is not going to be a deal breaker for many people, it does still “feel like” you are wearing dentures with the daily removal routine.
They Are Not 100% Secure
Snap-on dentures are several times better than normal dentures. They have literally transformed the lives of countless thousands of people who were suffering with traditional dentures. Most foods can be reliably eaten with snap-on dentures, they are secure enough for almost anything.
However, there is certainly room for improvement. If you like to bite into things like corn on the cob, or hard juicy apples regularly – then you may notice a little bit of wiggle. It is unlikely, but the dentures may even detach on rare occasions.
All in all, snap-on dentures are an excellent choice for people who would otherwise have to choose regular dentures. They take away many of the issues that are commonly found, and they look and feel great.
But we are not done yet, ladies and gentlemen. Dentures get much, much better than this.
Denture Type 3 – Implant Dentures
Implant dentures are the pinnacle of modern denture technology. They are the Ferrari of the denture world. Implant dentures are Dr. Choi’s recommendation in nearly every instance, and for a good reason too.
For implant dentures to be an option, the person receiving them needs to have a significant amount of remaining jaw bone. This can occasionally be a problem for people who have been using traditional dentures for a long time (as their jaw bone may have reduced through atrophy).
Implant dentures can be attached to both the upper and lower jaw bones, and this is usually what is recommended. However, some people opt to have a traditional or snap-on denture on the upper jaw, and an implant denture on the bottom jaw to save money.
In a very similar fashion to snap-on dentures, several implants will be placed into your mouth using a screw (on average this works out to be 4 or 6 implants in each jaw bone). This is done by making an incision into the gum, and screwing the implant into the jaw bone. When complete, the gum is then stitched up and the healing process begins.
At this point you will have to wait for 3 to 6 months for the implants to fully heal and integrate into the jaw bone. Temporary crowns are provided to allow you to eat while waiting for your body to do its job. When ready, a custom-made set of dentures will be securely attached to the implants.
The dentures that are attached can be removed, but only by your dentist. The increased number of implants allows the force of your bite to be transferred evenly across the implants into your jaw bone. They will not slip or slide or wobble at all, and they will feel exactly like a normal set of real teeth. In fact, this is the best way to think about implant dentures. They are a new set of faux, real teeth.
This also means that unlike snap-on dentures, you do not need to remove them at night to clean them. You will have to head down to the store and buy yourself a new toothbrush and toothpaste – because you will be brushing your teeth as per normal again. If you have not done this for a while because of your current dentures – it is a very enjoyable experience.
As you can probably imagine there are many other benefits that are to be found immediately after having implant dentures fitted. Some of which are:
You Can Eat Anything
Can you remember back to the days when you had a full set of healthy happy teeth? Remember when you did not have to give a second thought to how difficult something was going to be to eat? Well with implant dentures, those days are going to come back immediately. You will never have to worry about it again. Candy apples, corn on the cob, popcorn, nuts, apples, steak and much, much more are suddenly back on the menu. The entire culinary world will be your unobstructed oyster once more.
They Look Amazing
Implant dentures look so good, it’s often impossible to tell that they are not your real teeth, even under close inspection. They are premium products, and as such when you get implant dentures – you get a premium experience. Each individual tooth is carefully crafted to look identical to a real one.
The shape, the contours, the indentations, everything looks 100% real. The colors are incredible too. Some people worry they will look “too white” and a little bit “too good to be true”. While this may have been the case with a small number of very early implant dentures, it’s certainly not true anymore. It’s really quite astonishing how realistic they look.
Furthermore, one of the best bits about implant dentures is that there is very little “synthetic gum” to try and make look realistic. This is one of the hardest parts for snap-on (and traditional) denture designers to get right. But implant dentures attach directly into the implants and sit on your real gums discreetly.
One of the most often overlooked benefits of having implant dentures fitted is the immediate confidence boost that many people experience. The feeling of having a perfect smile is something that cannot be underestimated. This is especially true if you have had to suffer with traditional dentures for a while previously.
It can be surprising to some people just how much of a weight is lifted off their shoulders when they no longer need to worry about their dentures in any way, shape, or form. When we say it gives you a whole new lease of life, we are not exaggerating. It can literally be life changing.
Implant Dentures Frequently Asked Questions
As we hope you will agree by now, implant dentures are by far the best way for anyone who has lost their teeth to regain their bite, smile, and confidence. In this section, we are going to answer some of the most common questions people have about them.
Do Implant Dentures Decay?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions, and the answer is no – implant dentures do not decay. They have been specifically designed and manufactured from materials that will last anyone a lifetime. However, this being said, just because they do not decay does not mean you can maintain a substandard oral hygiene routine. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
Your gums are vital to the success of your dentures, and they need to be regularly cared for just like normal teeth. Alongside this, regular check-ups with your dentist are required to ensure they are still in perfect condition, and that they are still holding strong within the jaw/gums.
Do Implant Dentures Ever Fail?
The vast majority of implant dentures work flawlessly, a success rate of between 90% and 95% is often spoken about within the dental industry. However, that does leave a slim (but real) chance that your dentures may fail. This is strongly correlated with your oral hygiene routine and overall health. If you look after them, they will last.
Do Implant Dentures Hurt?
This is probably the second most common question people have about implant dentures. After learning the facts about the procedure, it becomes immediately obvious that it’s a complex and serious undertaking that is reasonably invasive.
During the procedure we talked about earlier, there is no pain whatsoever. You will be under local anesthesia. Despite how “scary” the procedure might sound, it’s reasonably simple for a dentist as skilled as Dr. Choi. If you are exceptionally anxious general anesthetic is an option that can be discussed.
However, having implant dentures fitted is a big procedure, and after the procedure, some discomfort is inevitable for the first 3 to 5 days. It is usually manageable and subsidies reasonably quickly. Specifically, you can expect to experience some minor bruising, swelling and minor bleeding of the skin and gums. You may also have a little discomfort in the cheeks and under the eyes.
It is highly recommended that mild pain medicine like Ibuprofen are utilized during this period. Additionally, applying regular ice packs to the cheeks will help with the swelling. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water will aid the healing process and should be done regularly.
So there you have it, we bet you never thought dentures could be so good!
Implant dentures are the solution to the denture problem so many people are looking for. It’s kind of a shame to call them dentures, because they are almost like having a brand new set of teeth.
If you are interested in discussing implant dentures, or any kind of dentistry why not give Dr. Choi a call? He and his team are available at 214-592-0692 and are looking forward to having a no pressure, friendly chat about how they can help you with your dental needs.