If you have already lost most of your teeth and currently suffer from periodontal disease and dental infections, your dentist may suggest complete dentures. Before the full dentures are created in a dental laboratory, your dentist will need to extract any remaining teeth.
Still, the dentist may suggest dental implants to be used in conjunction with your complete dentures. Here is a bit of information about implants and how they can benefit a denture wearer.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a titanium rod or screw that a dentist inserts into the jawbone to replace the roots of a natural tooth. Once the implant is stabilized, your dentist can fit it with an abutment and dental crown to replace a single tooth or simply an abutment to be covered by a dental bridge or an implant-supported denture.
Why Are Implants Used With Complete Dentures?
To stabilize a complete denture, dentists fit the denture with an attachment mechanism on its underside and connected to dental implants. The supporting implants hold the denture firmly in position.
When you dentist uses a complete traditional top denture, natural suction created as the denture rests against the roof of the patient's mouth holds the appliance in place.
However, the placement of a bottom denture does not generate enough suction to fully stabilize the device. As a result, the denture may move about inadvertently as the patient eats or speaks. This movement can be embarrassing and uncomfortable.
The stabilization from supporting implants is more important for a complete bottom denture. However, the implants can stabilize a top denture as well.
How Are the Dental Implants Placed in Preparation for a Denture?
Once your natural teeth have been removed, the dentist can decide the best locations to insert the dental implants along the ridge of each palate. Often, the implants are positioned toward the front of the mouth, where there is likely to be a greater amount of jawbone tissue. Additionally, the front of the jaw had fewer nerves that could be problematic during the insertion of the implants.
The implants are surgically inserted through the gums into the jawbone. There, the devices heal into place through a specialized process called osseointegration.
Osseointegration is the assimilation of the jawbone with the implanted device. It occurs as the cells of the bone grow around the dental implant without rejecting the implant as a foreign object. The connection of the implant to the bone holds the device securely in place.
You may need several surgeries to complete the implant process. During the first surgery, your dentist positions the implants in the jawbone. During the second procedure, your dentist will expose the top portion of each implant.
Who Makes a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
A dental implant can only offer support to a denture if the implantation of the device doesn't fail. You are likely a good candidate for the placement of dental implants if you:
- Have sufficient bone remaining to secure the implants in the jawbone. If you don't have enough bone tissue, your dentist may prescribe a bone-building procedure, such as a bone graft.
- Have healthy gingival tissues. If you have been diagnosed with periodontitis, your gums should be treated and permitted to heal prior to the placement of the implants.
If your dentist suggests implants to support your dentures, be sure to refrain from heavy smoking and drinking before your procedure and as your implant wounds heal. Also, if you suffer from diabetes, take your medication as prescribed to ensure that your blood sugar levels remain stable throughout the implant process.
To learn more about implant-supported dentures, contact Palmetto Denture Care, PA, to schedule an appointment.