As your body naturally changes from year to year, you may find that your traditional dentures become loose and uncomfortable. Thankfully, a long lasting, comfortable and affordable solution is available for loose dentures: implant retained dentures or bridges.
Implants can be used to stabilise your current dentures, or become the basis of an entirely new set of teeth (either dentures or bridges). Here’s what you need to know before proceeding with this treatment.
Conventional dentures vs implant retained dentures
Conventional dentures are moulded to fit your gums (and the underlying jaw bone shape), and mostly rely on suction forces between the under surface of the denture, saliva and the gum tissue that is covered by the denture. Because the dentures aren’t secured to either teeth or bone, this suction attachment is easily overcome by mouth movements (chewing, swallowing, yawning, laughing).
As a result, you will find that the dentures are a little wobbly, unreliable and uncomfortable to wear. This instability adversely affects your speech, ability to eat and your self confidence in social interactions. Implant retained dentures, on the other hand, are firmly attached to implants (the implants are attached to your jaws or cheek bones) which secures your dentures (making them feel like your original teeth), returning both form (natural appearance and smile) and function (speech, chewing and swallowing) to your mouth.
What are the benefits of implant retained dentures?
Implant retained dentures have a number of benefits.
Regular dentures (without implant connection) are a compromise between aesthetics and function; creating a beautiful smile may contribute to denture instability and reduced comfort; making the dentures more stable and comfortable may compromise the final smile and appearance of the teeth.
The use of implants to stabilise the teeth allows for optimal aesthetics (natural smile, improved lip support), optimal function (stable teeth, normal diet, no movement with swallowing, yawning or laughing) and reestablishment of self confidence.
Implants also help to retain the bone structure in your jaws and face, by regularly stimulating the jawbone and reducing bone loss (also called age related bone resorption). This retains the distance between your nose and chin point (lower facial height), preserving the shape of your face, and returning your youthful appearance. Implant retained dentures have no connection between your existing teeth and the implant retained teeth and therefore do not damage or shorten the life of the remaining teeth (like regular dentures can do).
A more varied diet
Implant retained dentures reestablish a normal bite, allowing you to eat a greater variety of foods like steaks, crusty breads and nuts. You’ll be able to taste them better too, because the implant retained denture covers less of your palate (allowing a greater number of taste buds to taste your food).
Implant retained dentures are much smaller than conventional dentures, allowing your mouth and lips to move freely, and improving your speech. This can do wonders for your self confidence.
Conventional dentures can be bulky and uncomfortable, especially if the shape of your mouth has changed since having them fitted. The implants are completely pain free and the dentures attached are much smaller than regular dentures—you’ll quickly forget you’re wearing them.
When should I consider implant retained dentures?
If your dentures are loose, uncomfortable, making eating difficult, affecting your speech, or compromising social interaction, you should at least attend to discuss implant retained dentures with your Specialist Surgeon.
Should I get fixed or removable implant retained dentures?
Fixed (non removable bridges) implant dentures can feel more natural (like your original teeth), and feel more rigidly attached to your jaws. Some people (especially patients who already have regular dentures) prefer to be able to remove the dentures (removable over- dentures) so they can more effectively clean around the implants.
Are there any risks or cons for implant retained dentures?
Implant retained dentures require a surgical procedure to be fitted. This procedure can be performed either awake (in rooms) or asleep (in hospital). The risks involved are low, and your Specialist Surgeon will advise you of any particular concerns at the initial consultation. As with any surgical procedure, you’ll experience some discomfort in the following days, while your body heals itself.
Implant retained dentures are more expensive than conventional dentures, but they’ll last for much longer. You’ll also need more appointments to complete the treatment.
What are the typical costs for implant retained dentures?
There’s typically two separate costs for implant retained dentures: the cost of the dentures themselves, and the surgery required for the implants. The total cost will vary from person to person, ranging anywhere from $5000.00 to $30000.00. Your Specialist Surgeon will provide
you with detailed quotations for treatment (including both Medicare and health fund rebate item codes) at the time of consultation.
As a Specialist Surgical practice, the Gold Coast Implant & Specialist Centre can provide all patients with both Medicare rebates for treatment and Medicare rebates for CT or cone beam scans needed for investigations.
What are the types of implant retained dentures?
Implant Supported Bridgework
A bridgework (or fixed bridge) is a row of side-by-side teeth that fills the gaps in your mouth between teeth. This type of dental appliance can be suited to patients without any remaining teeth or those without any teeth.
Implant Supported Dentures
Implant supported dentures are most suitable for patients who haven’t had any teeth for many years (resulting in greater loss or resorption of jawbone). The implants used will either be placed into the remaining jaw bone or the cheek bones (zygomatic implants).
What’s the typical process for getting implant retained dentures?
You’ll have an initial examination with the Specialist Surgeon. You will likely require a CT or cone beam scan to allow for treatment planning and costing of the treatment. Occasionally, a follow-up appointment is required to discuss the finding of the scans and the other options.
Once the treatment plan is finalised, custom surgical guides are generated from the CT scan data. These guides allow for accurate, low risk, minimally invasive surgery to be completed. This results in lower complications, faster surgical procedures and reduced recovery time for patients.
Recovery then takes 2-3 days for most patients. The implants need 2-3 months to fully heal in the jaw bone. However, for select patients, the implant appliance (denture or bridge) is inserted at the time of surgery (teeth in a day; immediate implants; same day teeth; all on four; all on six) meaning your new smile is complete from the time of stage 1 surgery.
There are many confidence-boosting benefits such as a stronger bone structure, nicer smile, and clearer speech.
Need to know more information? Visit the Implant Specialists at the Gold Coast Implant & Specialist to book a consultation to discuss your treatment options.
- Carol Priddy, 2020, Denture Implants: Snap In (Removable) & Screw In (Fixed), Authority Dental