Posts for tag: dental implants
Think dental implants only replace individual teeth? Think again—this premier technology can also support other kinds of restorations to provide better stability and comfort. And, they also help improve bone health when incorporated with any type of tooth replacement options, especially dentures.
Although traditional dentures have enjoyed a long, successful history as a tooth replacement solution, they can interfere with bone health. That’s because regular dentures fit in the mouth by resting on the bony ridges of the jaw, which has implications for the bone.
As living tissue, bone goes through a growth cycle with older bone cells dying and dissolving and newer cells forming to take their place. The teeth play a role in this growth cycle — the forces generated when we chew travel up through the teeth and help stimulate bone growth. When teeth go missing, however, so does this stimulus.
Traditional dentures can’t replace this missing stimulus. In fact, the constant pressure of dentures on the jaw may even accelerate bone loss. A sign this is happening occurs when the dentures’ once tight fit begins to loosen and they become uncomfortable to wear.
Implant-supported dentures can help eliminate this problem. We first surgically place a few implants in the jaw, the number determined by which jaw (the lower requires less) and whether the denture is removable or fixed. If removable, the denture has connective points that match the implant locations — you simply connect them with the implants. If fixed, the denture is screwed into the implants to hold it in place.
So, how does this help bone health? For one, the denture no longer puts as much pressure on the jaw ridges—the main support comes from the implants. And, the implants themselves encourage bone stimulation: The titanium in the implant has a special affinity with bone cells that naturally grow and adhere to its metal surface. This natural integration between implant and bone can stop bone loss and may even help reverse it.
If you’re interested in implant-supported dentures, you’ll first need to undergo a full dental exam with your dentist. These restorations aren’t appropriate for all dental situations. But, if they can work for you, you may be able to enjoy the benefits of an implant-supported restoration.
If you would like more information on implant-supported restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Overdentures & Fixed Dentures.”
People have depended on dentures for generations—and they still do. That's because they work, both in restoring dental function and a smile marred by missing teeth.
But they have one major drawback related to bone health. That's because living bone has a life cycle: as older cells die, new ones form to take their place. The pressure generated when we chew stimulates this growth. But when this stimulus goes missing along with the teeth, the cell replacement rate slows and bone volume and density gradually diminishes.
Traditional dentures can't transmit this chewing pressure stimulus. And because they rest directly on the gum ridges, they can adversely affect the underlying bone and actually accelerate bone loss.
But implant technology potentially solves this bone loss problem with dentures by using implants rather than the gums to support them. It's a two-fold benefit: first, the implants relieve much of the irritation to the gums and bone caused by traditional dentures. Primarily, though, the implants themselves can slow or even stop continuing bone loss.
Most implants are made of titanium, not only because it's compatible with the body, but also because it has an affinity with bone. Over time bone cells grow on the titanium post imbedded in the jawbone. This process not only creates stability and durability, it can improve bone health.
In recent years dentists have incorporated implants with dentures to create two exciting treatment options. With one option, the dentist installs two or more implants in the jaw, to which a specially fitted removable denture can be attached. You would still have the ease of removing the denture for cleaning, while gaining greater stability and a reduced risk of bone loss.
The other option is a fixed denture (or bridge) attached permanently to implants. For this option, a patient's jawbone must be adequate and healthy enough to support at least four to six implants. A fixed denture is also often costlier and more complex than a removable denture, but it can feel more like real teeth. It also promotes better bone health too.
Although both options are more expensive than traditional dentures, they can pay dividends for long-term dental health. Implants could help you enjoy your new dentures and resulting smile for a long time to come.
If you would like more information on dental implant-supported restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Overdentures & Fixed Dentures.”
Dental implants are high functioning “fake” teeth used to replace any areas with missing teeth. There are several reasons a tooth could be missing- extraction, trauma or congenitally missing teeth are the most common. An implant mimics the natural structure of a tooth, consisting of a titanium root that sits snugly in the jaw bone and a crown that sits on top. If properly cared for, an implant can last a lifetime.
Dental Implants Act as Natural Teeth
When there is a missing tooth or teeth, eating, talking and even smiling can be affected. Once a dental implant is placed, the natural function and aesthetic is returned to normal. Most patients can’t tell the difference between the implant and natural tooth.
Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss
When a tooth or teeth are lost, the natural effect of the bone is to resorb away as there is nothing there for it to support. In the first year after tooth loss, there can be as much as 25% loss of bone in the area. If a dental implant is placed, the bone will integrate around the titanium root and stay in place. Dentures (partial or full) which are the alternative to implants, can accelerate the loss of bone structure.
Dental Implants Can Prevent Facial Sagging
The cheeks and lips naturally sag into any gap that is created from missing teeth. A full set of teeth aid in maintaining the shape of the face and this can change when teeth are lost. Dental implants help to preserve the natural shape of the cheeks, jaw and face.
Dental Implants Keep Adjacent Teeth Stable
Teeth will naturally drift and move when they are left without opposing teeth. If a tooth is lost on the top, often the lower opposing tooth will over erupt as there is nothing to bite down against. Also, if a neighbouring tooth is lost there can be drifting, forward or backward. When dental implants are placed, they allow the rest of the teeth to maintain the correct positions.
Dental Implants can be used in Full Mouth Cases
Just as a dental implant can help to restore a single tooth, they can also be used to restore an entire arch of teeth. Traditional dentures rest directly on the gums and put pressure on the bone. Implant supported dentures disperse the pressure from the surface of the bone to the entire bone structure, preventing bone resorption and irritation from occurring.