As recently as even a couple decades ago, the preferred treatment for severe loss of teeth was a set of prosthetic dentures. The squelching, sucking, difficult-to-speak-with artificial teeth you’d find at your grandparent’s house suspended in a cup of warm water was the only option available. While traditional dentures have much improved in modern times, they still suffer from several drawbacks, including the need to remove and refit for cleaning purposes, as well as shifting, and being a general impediment to natural mouth movements.
Traditional Denture Problems
Traditional dentures are a hygienic headache. They must be kept moist at all times, or the acrylic will become brittle and prone to breakage. Because dentures must be kept moist, they are breeding grounds for the kind of bacteria that directly contribute to halitosis (bad breath) and other oral issues. Ill-fitted dentures are also subject to slippage and shifting which can result in discomfort, difficulty eating, and speaking, and shifting of existing teeth. Because it 's hard to gauge the amount of pressure a patient is putting on his or her dentures, particularly when eating, it is easy to wear them down or break them. Unlike natural teeth, which are supported by the jaw bone, traditional dentures are supported by the gums. The lack of stimulation to the jaw bone through chewing actually causes it to waste away over time, resulting in a more shrunken, hollowed out look to a patient’s face. When considering traditional dentures, it is paramount that you select the best prosthodontist to ensure a perfect fit and acceptable aesthetics.
Thankfully, dentistry and the field of prosthodontics, in particular, has come a long way in just a few decades. Today, dental implant procedures are common, cost effective, and permanent solutions to the problem of missing teeth. Methods range from one-off implants for a single lost or damaged tooth to a complete Smile Makeover in the form of full-mouth reconstructive surgery or the All-on-Four Dental Implants procedure which replaces a full set of top or bottom teeth on only four implants.
Types of Modern Dental Implant Procedures
Conventional Dental Implants
In a typical implant procedure, the missing tooth or teeth are replaced with a prosthetic one, typically made of either acrylic or porcelain. First, an implant, or a screw, usually made of titanium is embedded into a suitable bone structure and allowed to osseointegrate. What this means is that the implant (screw) is allowed to form an intimate bond with the surrounding bone. Once this process is completed, the crown (actual tooth prosthetic) is attached via an abutment. An abutment simply attaches the crown to the implant. Because each tooth must be individually anchored to the jaw bone via implants, this procedure can be more invasive and more costly than other implant procedures for full-mouth reconstruction.
All-on-Four Dental Implants is a relatively new alternative to both your grandparent’s traditional dentures and extensive dental implants. Instead of implanting each individual tooth needed one-by-one, the All-on-Four procedure only utilizes four strategically inserted implants per arch. These four implants anchor a prosthetic bridge and a full set of top or bottom teeth. By employing only four implants, the All-on-Four treatment is less invasive, less costly, and just as aesthetically pleasing and durable as a set of individually implanted teeth.
The Benefits of Implants
Implants can be a huge upgrade over your grandparents’ dentures. Because they are integrated into the jaw structure itself, implants are inherently more stable than traditional dentures and more accurately mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. Implants transfer bite forces (chewing food for example) into the surrounding bone tissue which prevents bone loss over time. Perhaps most importantly, implants are more aesthetically pleasing and conducive to daily living. They will never (barring a traumatic accident or shoddy dental work) accidentally fall out while you’re at dinner with your friends and family.
Remember, the best way to ensure your dental procedure is done right is to procure the services of a highly trained prosthodontist with years of experience and a lengthy track record of flawless work.
Looking for a world-class cosmetic prosthodontist? Look no further than Dr. Mamaly Reshad at Art Lab Dentistry.