Using Cutting-edge Technology to Restore Your Smile With Better Dentures

When you think about dentures, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Many people think of traditional dentures, pieces of acrylic resin that settle into place over your gums to restore the function and appearance of your smile. You might even think about the comedy routines that feature dentures falling out of people’s mouths at the worst possible moment!

While traditional dentures are a good treatment option for some people, especially because they shouldn’t be slipping if they fit properly, they’re certainly not your only option. You can also choose to rebuild your smile with implant-retained dentures. This treatment uses cutting-edge technology to replace your missing teeth and protect the future health of both your teeth and jaw bone, making them a great option for many people.

Dental implants are widely considered the best tooth replacement option out there, but how does that translate to implant-retained dentures? Everyone’s treatment needs and wants are different, but in general, implant-retained dentures are an excellent option for many people. They improve or eliminate several of the well-known problems with traditional dentures, creating a dental restoration that feels and functions just as naturally as it looks.

If you don’t know much about implant-retained dentures, you might have a lot of questions about them. We want you to have all the information you need to choose the best treatment option for you, so we’ve put together a guide to help you learn more about implant-retained dentures and whether they could be right for you.

Are implant-retained dentures implants or dentures?

Implant-retained dentures aren’t just one or the other—they’re hybrids between implants and dentures. They consist of several implants that support your dentures, which are usually removable.

This setup gives you the best of both worlds, making them capable of replacing all your teeth while maintaining all of the benefits unique to dental implants. You can get implant-retained dentures, also often called implant-supported dentures, on just one or both of your dental arches, so they’re flexible to your treatment needs.

What advantages do implant-retained dentures have over traditional dentures?

While both traditional overdentures and implant-retained dentures are effective methods of restoring the health, functionality, and appearance of your smile after extensive tooth loss, implant-retained dentures have unique benefits that overdentures simply can’t match. The key to these differences is the fact that they’re supported by implants, which are the only tooth replacement option that replaces your actual tooth roots. This gives your new set of teeth an unmatched strength and stability that allows them to function naturally—and feel completely natural while they’re at it!

Traditional overdentures shouldn’t fall out when you eat or speak if they fit well, but since they’re mostly held in through a mixture of a tailor-made fit and suction, you still have to be careful about what you eat with them in. With implant-retained dentures, however, you can resume eating all of your favorite foods–from tough steak to corn on the cob–without worrying or thinking much about it! This makes eating much more enjoyable and allows you to get back to simply living your life. It also helps you live a healthier life, as you’re able to eat a wider variety of foods, many of which were likely harder to eat before you received your implant-retained dentures.

This natural function goes beyond the surface, as your new tooth roots also perform an essential function of your natural roots by stimulating your jaw bone as you chew. This protects your jaw from the bone loss that happens as a result of tooth loss. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that protects against this aspect of tooth loss. Additionally, while overdentures must be adjusted every year due to bone loss–a process  they may actually accelerate–to ensure they continue fitting well, implant-retained dentures don’t require this. The implants themselves will never need to be replaced, and though your dentures will eventually need to be replaced due to wear and tear, they’ll last much longer than traditional overdentures. Implant-supported dentures also use cutting-edge technology to make sure that your new smile looks as naturally beautiful as it feels. No one will even realize you have dentures!

Who needs implant-retained dentures?

Anyone who has lost all or most of their teeth on at least one arch of their mouth is a potential candidate for implant-retained dentures. Since the implants are embedded in your jaw, you need to have a certain amount of healthy bone density in your jaw to qualify for the treatment. If you don’t have enough healthy bone, a bone graft could be the key to strengthening your jaw and allowing you to receive the treatment.

Alternatively, different types of implant-supported dentures, such as a locator retained denture, use fewer implants in areas with higher bone density, making them a more accessible option. The treatment involves several surgical procedures, so you’ll also want to check with your doctor or dentist if you have a condition that causes you to heal slowly or makes you more prone to infection.

Despite these details, many people are great candidates for dental implants, and it never hurts to ask! If you’re not sure whether the treatment is an option for you, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Dr. May! He can perform an evaluation, answer all of your questions, and walk you through your treatment options—including telling you whether implant-retained dentures are likely a good option for you.

What’s the placement process like?

When you decide to get implant-retained dentures, our team uses advanced dental technology to give you the best results possible. Dr. May begins the process by taking diagnostic scans and images of your teeth and jaws as well as taking an impression of your mouth. Instead of using traditional, goopy putty to take this impression, Dr. May uses our cutting-edge Primescan digital scanner.

This is an incredibly quick, comfortable process that forgoes the goop in favor of simply passing a small wand about the size of an electric toothbrush over your teeth. It produces a high-quality digital impression of your mouth, which can be turned into a 3D model. This impression and other scans of your mouth help Dr. May to plan the perfect placement of your dental implants and to design your dentures, including the temporary pair of overdentures that you’ll wear until you’re ready for your permanent implant-retained dentures.

Once the preparations are complete, you’ll undergo your first procedure. Dr. May will numb your mouth before making incisions in your gums, embedding the titanium metal rods that will function as your new tooth roots into your jaw, and sewing your gums back up. Your bone will need time to heal and grow around your new implants, holding them more firmly in place, so you’ll need to wait for several months before your next procedure.

The second procedure in this process is often simply placing the abutments, which are the pieces that your dentures will attach to. Dr. May will numb your mouth again, make incisions in your gums to expose your implants, and then attach the abutments to them. After you’ve spent a few weeks healing from this procedure, you’ll be ready to receive your permanent dentures! To learn more about this process, feel free to check out the video on locator retained overdentures on our patient education page or ask Dr. May any of your questions.

Love your smile again with Metro East Dental Care!

Implant-retained dentures offer a hybrid between two incredibly effective tooth replacement options, allowing you to reclaim the functionality, health, and appearance of your natural teeth—and all the confidence that comes from loving your smile! If you’d like to learn more about implant-retained dentures or other tooth replacement options, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. May at any time.