While dentures can be used by your dentist to replace an entire arch or mouthful of missing teeth, they are not always the best option. Unfortunately, many people elect to get dentures without realizing this. Fast forward to the point where their dentures no longer fit properly and many people with dentures decide that they want to make the transition from dentures to dental implants. If this sounds like you, then there are some things you should know about transitioning from dentures to dental implants:
Should I make the transition from dentures to dental implants?
Being that dental implants are considered the golden standard of tooth replacement options, here are some compelling reasons why you should transition from dentures to dental implants:
- Dental implants can maintain bone mass, while dentures cannot. This ultimately means that dental implants keep your jawbone healthy, while dentures allow it to slowly deteriorate. This also means that dentures will need to be frequently replaced when they no longer fit properly.
- Since dental implants maintain the jawbone, they will also maintain proper fit and do not require replacement. This means that you will save more money in the long run by getting dental implants.
- Dental implants function like natural teeth since they sit in the jawbone instead of on top of the gums. This means that implants won’t shift while eating and speaking. Not only does this make dental implants more comfortable than dentures, but it allows them to be more effective when it comes to chewing tougher foods.
- Since dental implants function like natural teeth, they also have a natural, aesthetic appearance that dentures simply do not.
However, to determine whether transitioning from dentures to dental implants is right for you, you will need to schedule a consultation with your local implant dentist. During your consultation, your dentist will take dental x-rays to determine if you have enough bone mass to support a dental implant. Chances are if you have had dentures for a while, you probably don’t have enough bone mass and your dentist may recommend a bone graft.
What should I expect during the transition from dentures to dental implants?
In most cases, you can expect the transition from dentures to dental implants to begin with a bone graft. During a bone graft, your dentist will place bone material in areas of low bone mass to encourage new bone growth. This helps build up enough bone mass to safely support the placement of dental implants.
In some cases, your dentist may recommend having a bone graft approximately 4-6 months before your dental implants are placed. In other cases, they may perform the bone graft at the same time they place your implants. Both bone grafts and dental implant placements are minor oral surgery that are performed under dental sedation.
After having a bone graft, the next step to transition from dentures to dental implants is to have your dental implants placed. To place dental implants, a small incision is made in your gums to reach the jawbone. Then, the empty tooth socket will be shaped and prepared for an implant screw. Once the implant screw has been inserted into the jawbone, your gums will be sutured up around a metal connector piece called an abutment. To place an implant-supported denture, you can expect to have about 4-6 dental implants placed in each arch.
After your dental implants have been placed, you will need to allow them approximately 3-6 months to fuse with the surrounding bone in a process called osseointegration. During this period, your dentist will provide you specific instructions to follow in order to ensure implant success. You can expect to be on a temporary soft foods diet until your implants have healed. When your implants have healed, you will be able to return to your usual diet.
The final step in the transition from dentures to dental implants is learning how to care for your implants. Unlike traditional dentures, your implant-supported denture will remain in your mouth at all times. This means that you simply need to care for it as you would your natural teeth by brushing twice a day and flossing daily.
Are you ready to make the transition from dentures to dental implants? Schedule a consultation today!
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.