Traditional full dentures sit passively on the upper and/or lower jaws and in the ideal case form a suction attachment to the gum. However when teeth are lost the body decides that the bone is no longer needed and the bone is resorbed. It atrophies like an unused muscle.
What does this mean for patients?
It can have a huge impact on their appearance as the shrinkage of the bone results in the ageing “caved in” look. Also due to the lack of bone for the denture to sit on the suction effect becomes weaker as time passes. Wearing loose and uncomfortable dentures can seriously limit what you can eat; they are unable to eat and chew their favourite foods. The dentures are so big they can reduce the taste and texture of foods they can eat. They can’t eat anything other than soft foods such as mashed potato and soup. You may be thinking to yourself that you quite enjoy soup or mash, what if that was the ONLY thing you could eat for the rest of our life. Therefore there is also a reduction in the normal digestion process.
What is the solution?
An Implant Supported Denture. A dental implant is an artificial titanium tooth root. After a healing period it becomes fully integrated into the bone providing a fixed long term solution that can replace anywhere between one and all of your teeth. As few of two to four implants can be enough to lock the dentures firmly into place providing a secure and confident smile for the patient and they can begin to enjoy their favourite foods again. Placement of dental implants preserves the remaining bone, maintaining the shape and structure of the lips and cheeks.
What is the procedure?
The patient would undertake a thorough examination and an assessment of the remaining bone levels would be made. Although implants can be placed if teeth have been missing for a long time additional techniques may be needed. After precise planning two or four implants are placed in the jaw in one single treatment session and during the healing process they become fully integrated into the bone. During this time the new denture is made and it consists of the female components and male components are attached onto the implants. The components click together just like pressing a button and the denture is then firmly attached.