If you have worn conventional dentures, you know that they can be wobbly and uncomfortable, occasionally slipping or falling out. They often make speaking and eating difficult. Sticky, crunchy, and dense foods may be off the menu for you, if your dentures don’t stay put as they should. Dentures may even decrease your ability to taste food.
Whether you are a conventional denture wearer or are looking into dentures for the first time, Dr. Scott Lee is pleased to offer implant-supported dentures to our patients.
To learn how implant dentures could improve your life, call our Mesa, AZ dental office at (480) 838-4185 and schedule a consultation.
How Are Implant Dentures Different?
Dentures are custom-made replacements for natural teeth that have been lost or extracted.
Conventional dentures are removable. The top denture may have a closed palate, in which case it can be held in place natural suction. These dentures can be uncomfortable and make it awkward to eat and sleep, and because they cover the roof of the mouth, many patients have reported a decrease in their ability to taste food. Open palate upper dentures and all styles of lower dentures require a special adhesive to remain securely in place on the gums.
In contrast, implant dentures snap onto dental implants, which are tiny titanium posts surgically placed in the jawbone. This style of denture is more stable and comfortable than conventional dentures, and they do not cover the upper palate, so there is no loss of taste. Implant dentures are also removable, and can be taken out, cleaned, and snapped right back in. A fixed option may be preferable, and is available in some cases.
Implant posts actually become part of the jaw, as bone integrates with the biocompatible post in a process called osseointegration. Because of this, implants offer the most reliable anchor for a denture. The implant posts also stimulate jawbone tissue, so it does not deteriorate over time. Conventional dentures cannot make this claim.
The Implant Denture Process
The process of obtaining implant dentures starts with a visit to our Mesa, AZ dental office for a consultation with Dr. Lee. The doctor will examine your teeth and discuss options for replacing your lost teeth. To qualify for implant dentures, you should have excellent gum health and good bone density in the jaw. The doctor may recommend undergoing a bone graft or periodontal therapy before implant surgery.
When you and the dentist are in agreement that implant dentures are right for you, a treatment plan will be developed. The doctor will capture x-rays of your mouth and perform any extractions necessary. You will need to provide the doctor with your full medical and dental history, including a list of all medications you are currently taking. He will explain the procedure to you and answer all of your questions.
The actual surgery for placing the implants is a day surgery that takes place in our office. When you arrive, our caring staff will make sure you are comfortable and begin administering sedation or anesthesia. Usually, only four to six implants are needed to secure an implant denture snugly, which will prevent slipping and wobbling. Once the implants are placed, the doctor might provide you with temporary dentures to use during the healing process, which usually takes three to six months. During this time, the bone in your jaw will fuse to the implants to create a permanent, reliable base for your dentures.
When the healing process is complete, you will return to our office to receive your permanent dentures. The doctor will attach a small connector called an abutment to the head of each implant. Your new dentures will snap onto these abutments, and you’ll leave our office with a beautiful, stable smile.
Caring for Implant Dentures
Like natural teeth, your dentures will need to be regularly cleaned. The doctors recommend removing the dentures at night and cleaning them with an ADA-approved denture cleaner. You will also need to brush the inside of your mouth to guard against gum disease and protect your overall oral health. Plan to visit our office for regular dental checkups, so Dr. Lee can monitor your implants and make sure your mouth remains healthy.